Cowboys captain Michael Morgan has ruled himself out of the State of Origin season after a shoulder injury that left him playing only six games this year.
This comes before Manly star Tom ‘Turbo’ Trbojevic was told he has the responsibility of following Morgans lead.
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Reporter Chris Garry said on Monday that 7 News had announced Morgans withdrawal from this years series after a “nagging shoulder injury” left him with no other choice.
The attention now draws to Trbojevic who returned on the weekend from a hamstring injury suffered in Round 6 only to suffer a shoulder injury upon return.
With the injury ruling him out of the final game of the season, the Sea Eagles coach Brad Fittler told the fullback: “it’s official mate, if you stop sooking you’re the first person in the squad of 27,” on The Sunday Footy Show.
Yet, Paul Kent told NRL 360 that it was “unfair” to play the 23-year-old in such a physically demanding series after he has had such little game time this year.
“Manly have no choice. They’re not allowed to pull him out and they’re not allowed to tell Freddy not to pick him,” he said.
“I don’t think he should play though… I think it’s unfair on Tom.
“I think the fact is when Origin rolls around he would have played one game in 19 weeks, he was underdone on the weekend and you’re asking him to go into an Origin game underdone.
🏉 It's not looking good for Tommy Turbo's return as he's taken off the field. 🚑
— ABC Grandstand (@abcgrandstand) September 19, 2020
“Second to that, if we go back and look at the horrific injury toll that’s happened this year, most people will put that down to the fact that when the game resumed there was a lack of preparation as far as off-season training.
“You’re going to ask this guy to go through that and come into an Origin game underdone and expect his body to hold up.
“He’s got to give himself every chance and he needs to go into pre-season training in that November period, rather than an Origin camp.”
Co-host of NRL 360 Ben Ikin agreed with Kent saying that it would be “deeply concerning” for Manly coach Des Hasler if Trbojevic was to play the Origin series.
“If the six-again rule has made the home and away rounds much faster, can you imagine what it will do to Origin?
“So if you’re coming off no prep and playing State of Origin particularly in the shape his body is in at the moment, that would be deeply concerning for Des Hasler.
“If I’m the sea Eagles right now, I’m considering all forms of special treatment to get this player right for next year because we have seen how Manly perform without their star fullback isn’t on the field.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield continued, adding that Trbojevic “nearly owes it” to his club after spending so much time on the sidelines this season.
“I think Des and the medical team at Manly have got to have a chat and say ‘look we know you want to play Origin’… but you know what, he’s on $900,000 at Manly and he’s played seven games this year,” Rothfield told NRL 360.
“He’s got to get his body right, he’s got to be ready to go in February, March next year.
“I think he nearly owes it to the club, no one can question his loyalty to Manly but I think he’s got a responsibility to them to ensure that he’s fully fit next year and Origin is not going to help.”
Kent believes that Trbojevic is likely to skip the series – with Manly’s intervention – to be fit and healthy for the 2021 season.
“I think Manly will make a sneaky phone call to Brad Fittler and at some point after a discussion with Tom there will be a subtle announcement that he’s probably going to go get his body fit for next season rather than play Origin.”
The Blues without some Turbo action is going to be a sad sight to see for Origin fans but Ikin responded saying: “I know he’s a star but it’s not as if Brad Fittler doesn’t have options.”
Broncos star Kotoni Staggs, Dragons’ Zac Lomax and veteran Josh Morris have been counted as options to take Trbojevic’s place in the centre position it was expected he’d be picked for.
— Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (@SeaEagles) September 19, 2020
Great decision by Michael Morgan, hasn’t been the same since his shoulder injury. Have a decent off season and then see how a full pre season goes. May even need to consider early retirement. I’d like to see how he went with a month in Qld Cup to regain confidence.
— Paul Morris (@PM_TVL) September 21, 2020