CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Michael Morgan of the Cowboys makes a line break toset up a try during the round 17 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the North Queensland Cowboys at GIO Stadium on July 1, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Former North Queensland Cowboys captain, Michael Morgan has joined Queensland Cup team and Cowboys feeder club the Townsville Blackhawks as an assistant coach for 2023.

The former Dally M Halfback of the Year and Cowboys' Grand Final hero was approached by former teammate and current Blackhawks head coach Aaron Payne to join the side's coaching staff.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Michael Morgan of the Cowboys makes a break during the round 24 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“It was quite random for me,” Morgan told  QRL Media. 

“Payney (Aaron Payne) gave me a call out of the blue and asked what I was up to and if I would be interested in coming on board as the Blackhawks assistant coach.

“It was perfect timing. I've been wanting to get back into footy in some way so when he called, I gave him an answer straight away.”

Morgan's playing career was tragically cut short at the dawn of the 2021 season due to a recurring shoulder injury. He was just 29 when he was forced to leave the game he loved.

Townsville-born and bred, Morgan played 168 NRL games for North Queensland and made 12 appearances for the Maroons. He formed a formidable and ultimately premiership-winning halves combination with Johnathan Thurston during his time at the club.

His decorated 2017 season, in which he at-times carried the injury-ravaged Cowboys to a miraculous Grand Final appearance also saw him join Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater in the spine of the Kangaroos World Cup-winning side.

“I didn't know when I finished if I'd still have a career in rugby league,” Morgan admitted.

“It's all I've ever known. It's my passion, my main interest. Lucky the opportunity has come about with Payney.

“While I was playing, I never thought I'd be interested in coaching at all. I still don't know if I'll go on to be a head coach or anything like that. It's way too early to say.

“But I'm excited to initially get back into footy and that environment again. It's a new challenge. It will give me a chance to see if I like it and enjoy it, and I think I will.”