‘It’s a cruel game’: The try-scoring image of the Morris twins that broke Dad’s heart

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‘It’s a cruel game’: The try-scoring image of the Morris twins that broke Dad’s heart

By Christian Nicolussi

A heartbroken Steve Morris almost had to hang up the phone because of sadness when he first spoke to his son Brett on Sunday morning.

And while rugby league fans will never forget the scenes of Josh Morris consoling his brother in Newcastle on Saturday night, there was another haunting moment their father will never forget.

“Most people would have missed it but Brett was still being helped off the ground when Josh scored his third try,” Morris told the Herald on Monday.

“That try for Josh moved him into the top 10 try-scorers of all time. That had been one of the boys’ motivation: to both finish in the top 10.

“So when Josh did that, it was a bit like him saying to Brett ‘I’ve joined you now’, but Brett was 20 metres away being carried off the field and unlikely to come back ever again.

“Seeing that wasn’t strange, it was more ironic and cruel. It can be a cruel game. Rugby league is a hard game and not for the faint-hearted.”

Josh Morris scores while his twin brother Brett (circled) is helped from the field.

Josh Morris scores while his twin brother Brett (circled) is helped from the field.Credit:NRL.com

Steve Morris, a former St George, Easts and Kangaroos representative better known as “Slippery”, was at home in Kiama, on the NSW South Coast, watching the game on his own when Brett, 34, went down clutching at his knee late in the game.

Scans confirmed Brett suffered an ACL rupture, and he is believed to have played his last game.

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“It was heartbreaking to see him in such pain. That was hard,” Morris said.

“Because of their age I’ve probably been holding my breath watching them play the last year or two.

“It didn’t look as bad as some of the other hits he had taken. It was actually a shock to see him hit the ground and then be in so much pain.

A devastated Brett Morris leaves the field injured after suffering a serious knee injury.

A devastated Brett Morris leaves the field injured after suffering a serious knee injury.Credit:Getty

“I couldn’t hear it because I’ve got bad ears, but I’m glad I didn’t hear anything but they told me you could hear his screams on the TV. That would not have been pleasant.

“When I saw Josh and Brett in the sheds, that’s when it hit home for me and I knew how serious it was.

“To know the effort he has put in for all those years, and then to have it all taken away from you so abruptly ... he still had goals he wanted to achieve.

“I sent him a few messages that night but didn’t call until Sunday morning because I knew people would have been hassling him.

“When we spoke I almost had to hang up. He didn’t need me getting all emotional.

NRL top 10 try-scorers

1. Ken Irvine (Norths, Manly-Warringah) 212

2. Billy Slater (Melbourne) 190

3. Steve Menzies (Manly-Warringah, Northern Eagles) 180

4. Brett Morris (St George Illawarra, Canterbury-Bankstown, Roosters) 176

5. Andrew Ettingshausen (Cronulla-Sutherland) 165

6. Terry Lamb (Wests, Canterbury-Bankstown) 164

7. Brett Stewart (Manly-Warringah) 163

= 8. Matt Sing (Penrith, Roosters, North Queensland) 159

= 8. Hazem El Masri (Canterbury-Bankstown) 159

10. Josh Morris (St George-Illawarra, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cronulla-Sutherland, Roosters) 155* 

“I told him he had such a great career and he should be proud.″⁣

With Brett now forced into an early retirement, Steve said it would be interesting to see if his twin Josh was still keen to play on for another season.

Roosters players, coach Trent Robinson and club supremo Nick Politis were all gutted by the sudden end to Morris’ career - as well as the season-ending ACL injury for Queensland prop Lindsay Collins, who broke down moments earlier - but the news was also felt elsewhere.

Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans played with Morris for Australia at the 2013 World Cup and was full of praise for the flyer who finished with 276 career games and 176 tries, the fourth most of all time. Cherry-Evans added that the injury to Collins was a giant blow for the Queensland Origin campaign.

“I watched that Roosters game on the way back from Bathurst and it was genuinely hard to watch,” Cherry-Evans said.

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“If that’s the last game ‘B-Moz’ plays, that’s hard. You don’t often get fairytales in rugby league, but if one bloke deserves a better ending, it’s B-Moz. He was the ultimate professional and there was never a job too big for him. The way he could finish a try was unreal.

“Lindsay is also disappointing because he’s a Queensland teammate, he played all three games last year and looked like he had been playing on that arena for 10 years.”

Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves said Morris’ address in the sheds post-game was one of the proudest moments in his career.

“He said to be able to captain the side at one of the most prestigious clubs that he has ever been a part of, to be sent out a winner, he just said thank you,” he said.

“They were things that I will remember for a long time for sure.”

Waerea-Hargreaves said he also spoke in the sheds following Morris’ address in an effort to speak more to the young players.

“We’ve copped a lot of big injuries the last few weeks and you have a lot of young guys sitting in a room who don’t really know the highs and lows of rugby league,” he said.

“It was just making it clear whatever we are doing we do together we stay tight and we stay united because you can start over-thinking things and you can go into your own shell.”

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