Dolphins Media Opportunity
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: Wayne Bennett poses for a photo with the revealing of the Dolphins Heritage jersey and a new sponsor in Kings Adventure during a Dolphins NRL press conference at Suncorp Stadium on October 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Former North Queensland Cowboys and Queensland State of Origin star Michael Morgan was linked with a dramatic NRL comeback at the Dolphins, only for Wayne Bennett to shut it down, slamming the speculation.

Pressure has continued to grow on the Dolphins following the club missing Kalyn Ponga for their opening season during the week, with the Knights fullback electing to take up a five-year extension in the Hunter.

It has meant the Dolphins are now facing the very real prospect of not having a marquee player for their opening season, with Cameron Munster contracted to the Melbourne Storm until the end of 2024 and no signs that the Victorian club will be prepared to offer their star half an early release.

It has been reported that the club have since been linked with a return for Morgan, who medically retired due to a chronic shoulder injury.

Morgan has been retired for 12 months, with the 30-year-old playing 168 games for the Cowboys between 2010 and 2021, as well as 12 State of Origins for Queensland and 12 Tests for Australia.

Speaking to reporters though, Bennett labelled the speculation "garbage".

“That is absolute garbage. Michael Morgan’s name has not been mentioned once,” Bennett said.

“If Michael is like Sam Burgess (former Souths enforcer) with his shoulder, then he would be no chance of coming back to the NRL.

“These guys have a life to lead after football and their shoulders get so bad they can’t even lift things. I saw what Sam Burgess went through.

“I wouldn’t even consider signing Michael Morgan. He was a wonderful player at his best but I’m not going to chase a guy who has been medically retired.

“I would love to recruit guys like Sam Burgess and Matt Gillett, but their shoulders are stuffed, that’s the reality with that type of injury.”

The Dolphins have signed just eight players for their inaugural season, despite having the power to sign players since November 1.

Only six of that group - Jamayne Isaako, Ray Stone, Mark Nicholls, Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi - have NRL experience.