SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Josh Morris of the Blues is tackled during game one of the State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on May 27, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Season-long biosecurity measures enforced on the NRL have convinced Josh Morris not to take part in this year’s State of Origin, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. 

The news comes amidst growing fears over the availability of centre Tom Trbojevic.

Morris has also flagged the mental health damage to the game’s young stars during the strict security measures in season 2020.

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The veteran Roosters centre took part in game one of last year’s series before Trbojevic returned from a hamstring issue.

After a triumphant series over Queensland last year, Morris insisted he would not take part in future representative games and wanted to give the game’s young stars a chance to shine, including Kotoni Staggs, Stephen Crichton and Zac Lomax.

“I’m over this bubble,” Morris said. “I can’t wait to get out of it and see my extended family and catch up with mates.

“I’ve had my time in the Origin arena. I really enjoyed last year and there’s plenty of young fellas coming up now that deserve their chance. I’m looking forward to seeing how they go as well.”
While Morris makes way for the young guns coming through, Roosters hooker Jake Friend will be fighting for a spot in the NSW team at the age of 30.
Friend and on-loan Wests Tigers No.9 Harry Grant are the two most likely starting hookers to get the call up for game one in Adelaide.

“I was involved in a few of the camps earlier this year and it was great to be back in the mix,” said Friend, who will confirm a contract extension at the Roosters in the coming weeks.

“It’s definitely something I still want to tick off, I believe it to be the pinnacle of our game. It would be an awesome thing to be involved in.

“But it’s not on my priority list at the moment. It’s about finishing off this season the way we want to and we’ll go from there after that.”

The 27-man NSW squad will head into their bubble from October 19 to prepare for the November series.
The majority of the NRL’s players will return to pre-season training after only a short break away.

“I really feel for the young fellas who live away from their family or the singles who aren’t able to have that interaction with people,” Morris said.

“I’ve got a young family and that’s really helped me. My wife has been a great support and being able to get home to see my kids every day makes it a little but normal for myself.

“There are those young fellas that live away from home and their parents, we’ve just try to get around them as much possible and keep checking in on them.”

The Roosters will take on the Rabbitohs in the final round of the season with the result to determine who the two-time defending premiers will face. Depending on the result, they could face either Melbourne or minor premiers Penrith in the first week of the finals series.

Friend and Boyd Cordner will both return for the Roosters, with Cordner missing the win against the Sharks due to a head knock.

“He’s like a kid in a candy shop,” Morris said. “He just wants to get out there and rip in. He’s really freshened up, he’s disappointed to probably not play on the weekend, but it’s for his own good.

“The club would always look after a player’s best interests. He’s an important member of this squad and we’re looking forward to having him in the squad this week.”