Michael Morgan (rugby league, born 1991)

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Michael Morgan
Personal information
Born (1991-12-27) 27 December 1991 (age 26)
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 92 kg (14 st 7 lb)
Playing information
Position Five-eighth, Halfback, Fullback, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2010– North Queensland 135 54 0 2 220
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2014 Prime Minister's XIII 1 0 0 0 0
2015–17 Queensland 8 1 0 0 4
2016–17 Australia 12 3 0 0 12
As of 4 March 2018
Source: [1]

Michael Morgan (born 27 December 1991) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays for the North Queensland Cowboys in the National Rugby League. Morgan plays as a five-eighth and halfback; but he can also play fullback, Centre and Hooker. Morgan is a Queensland State of Origin, Australia international and Prime Minister's XIII representative and was a member of the Cowboys' 2015 NRL premiership and 2016 World Club Challenge winning sides.

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born and raised in Townsville, Queensland, Morgan played his junior rugby league for the Townsville Brothers club before joining the North Queensland Cowboys under-20s squad in 2009. In the same year, whilst attending Ignatius Park College, he represented the Queensland Schoolboys under-18s side and was also selected for the Australian Schoolboys side.[5]


In round 9, Morgan made his NRL debut at age 18 for the North Queensland Cowboys against the Sydney Roosters, filling in at halfback for the Cowboys' captain Johnathan Thurston in the Cowboys 32-14 win at the Sydney Football Stadium.[6] On 30 November, Morgan re-signed with the Cowboys for three years.[7] In round 14, against the Canberra Raiders, Morgan scored his first and second NRL tries in the Cowboys 16-8 win at 1300SMILES Stadium.[8] Morgan finished his debut year in the NRL with him playing in 4 matches and scoring 2 tries. On 30 November, Morgan re-signed with the Cowboys for three years to the end of the 2013 season.[7][9]


Morgan played in 4 matches for the Cowboys in 2011, once again filling in for Johnathan Thurston after he was ruled out for 6 weeks of the season.[10] He spent the majority of the season in the Cowboys' NYC side, playing halfback in the Toyota Cup Grand Final against the New Zealand Warriors, which was lost 31-30 in extra time.[11][12]


In round 10, Morgan returned to first grade for the Cowboys against the Newcastle Knights. Morgan starred in the game by scoring a try and setting another up in the Cowboys 32-12 win at Hunter Stadium.[13] From round 19 onward, Morgan cemented his halfback spot for the Cowboys after Ray Thompson suffered a shoulder injury. In week 1 of the 2012 finals series, against the Brisbane Broncos, Morgan became the first halfback in the history of the NRL/ARL/NSWRL to score a hat-trick of tries in a finals match in the Cowboys 33-16 win at 1300SMILES Stadium.[14] Morgan played in 13 matches and scored 4 tries in the 2012.


On 9 February 2013, Morgan captained the Cowboys to a 28-24 victory over the Brisbane Broncos in a trial match. He scored a try and set up another in the win.[15] On 10 April, Morgan re-signed with the Cowboys for a further two years.[16][17] Later that month, Morgan was given three weeks off from first grade duty after the death of best-friend and Cowboys team-mate Alex Elisala. Morgan spent most the year playing with the Mackay Cutters. They won the Queensland Cup Grand Final against the Easts Tigers 27-20, with Morgan dedicating a try to Elisala.[18] Morgan only played 9 matches and scored 2 tries in 2013. In September, Morgan admitted he had stood himself the NRL from being emotionally drained from the death of Elisala.[19]


In 2014, Morgan shifted to fullback for the Cowboys after new signing Lachlan Coote tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the club's Auckland Nines tournament. Due to his form at fullback, he was called into Queensland's State of Origin squad as 19th man for Game III of the 2014 State of Origin series.[20] Following an impressive season at fullback for the Cowboys, including two finals appearances, Morgan was selected on the interchange bench for the Prime Minister's XIII team which defeated Papua New Guinea 34-16 in Kokopo.[21] Morgan spent time at hooker and lock during the game. He finished the 2014 NRL season with him playing in all of the Cowboys 26 matches and scoring a career-high 10 tries.

At the end of 2014, Morgan was named the Cowboys members' player of the year and the most improved player.


In January, Morgan was named in the QAS Emerging Origin squad for the third year in a row.[22] On 27 January 2015, Morgan was named in the Cowboys 2015 NRL Auckland Nines squad.[23] After starting the first two rounds of the season at fullback, Morgan shifted to five-eighth in round 3 against the Brisbane Broncos in the Cowboys 44-22 loss.[24] In round 10, against the Broncos, Morgan scored a hat-trick of tries in a man of the match performance in which the Cowboys won 31-20.[25] Following the return of Lachlan Coote from injury, Michael Morgan shifted to five eighth. North Queensland's spine was instrumental in their success during the 2015 season, with Lachlan Coote, Jonathan Thurston, Morgan, and Jake Granville being named NRL.com's #1 playmaking spine for 2015.[26] After scoring five tries in two weeks, Morgan was called into the Queensland State of Origin team for game I of the 2015 State of Origin series, after Daly Cherry-Evans was ruled out with an elbow injury.[27] Morgan came off the interchange bench in Queensland's 11-10 victory.[28] In Game III of the series, Morgan scored a try with just his third touch of the football and set up two others in Queensland's 52-6 obliteration of New South Wales.[29]

On 4 October 2015, Morgan was a member of the Cowboys' Grand Final winning side, starting at five-eighth in the side's 17-16 victory over the Brisbane Broncos. On the last play of the game, with the Cowboys down by four points, Morgan combined with Johnathan Thurston in-setting up a try to right winger Kyle Feldt when he ran from 20 out, drew three Broncos defenders and got away a one-handed flick pass to send the winger over for the match-tying try and sending the game into extra time.[30][31] Morgan finished his barnstorming 2015 NRL season for Cowboys with him playing in 23 matches and scoring 15 tries.


Morgan playing for Australia in 2016

In February, Morgan played in the Cowboys 2016 Auckland Nines squad.[32] He was then a member of the Cowboys' World Club Challenge winning side, starting at five-eighth and scoring the first try of the match in the match against Leeds Rhinos. After a great start to the season, on 6 May, Morgan was selected to make his international debut for Australia against New Zealand, where he played off the interchange bench in the 16-0 win at Hunter Stadium.[33] Morgan came off the bench for Queensland during games I & II of the 2016 State of Origin series before being ruled out of game III. Morgan returned in round 20 against the Canterbury Bulldogs, putting in a man of the match performance.

On 16 September, Morgan played his 100th NRL game, scoring the match winning try against the Brisbane Broncos in the club's 26-20 elimination semi-final victory.

On 4 October, Morgan was selected in Australia's Four Nations squad.[34] He scored his first test try in Australia's 54-12 over Scotland at KCOM Lightstream Stadium.


Morgan started the season as usual, playing at Five-Eighth. With his halves partner Johnathan Thurston having injury issues/problems throughout the majority of the season; he spent time featuring at halfback, taking-on an extra responsible role in-steering and directing the team around the field. [35]

In game 2 of the State of Origin Series, Morgan came-on (from the bench) playing at right Centre replacing Will Chambers (who left the field with concussion) making an impact in combining with veteran fullback Billy Slater, in setting-up the match-winning try to right winger Dane Gagai leading to team-mate Johnathan Thurston to kick that winning goal, which lead to QLD winning the game 18-16 and to level the series margin to 1-all[36].

Following game 2 of the Origin Series and a season-ending shoulder injury to Johnathan Thurston; Morgan took over the halfback position permanently for the Cowboys, for the remainder of the 2017 Season.

Leading into the Origin decider (Game 3 of the 2017 State of Origin Series), he was the leading candidate to play at Five-Eighth (in replacing Johnathan Thurston)[37]. Despite this, coach Kevin Walters selected Melbourne Storm player Cameron Munster to play in that Five-Eighth role[38] which resulted Morgan being selected at Centre for the 3rd game of the State of Origin series. This was his first ever start in the position at First Grade level, and his first start in State of Origin[39]. Playing at centre in the 3rd game (the decider), he produced a fine performance in QLD's 22-6 win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium.[40]

With Thurston still injured and out of the action; Morgan continued-on with his fine consistency performance at Halfback, leading into the NRL play-offs. In week 1 of the Final Series, he guided the Cowboys to a tough narrow 15-14 win over the Cronulla Sharks at Allianz Stadium, kicking a field goal in extra-time [41][42][43]. The following week, he then went-on playing a key role in the Cowboys' 24-16 win over the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium[44]. In the Grand Final qualifier match against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium (on the 23rd September), he produced an outstanding performance in the Cowboys to a 29-16 win, guiding the team to the Grand Final[45].

After an end to a terrific 2017 season for Morgan in which he guided the Cowboys to a unlikely Grand Final appearance and won the Dally M Halfback of the Year award, Morgan was rewarded further being named in Australia's 24 man squad for the 2017 Rugby League Word Cup. Morgan would continue to comfortably fill in Johnathan Thurston's boots, going on to play in Thurston's regular Five-eighth position for Australia and playing the opening game of the tournament against England where Australia won 18-4. Continuing to do his job for the Australia Kangaroos, he earned a spot at Five-eight for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final against England.

Achievements and accolades[edit]




Statistics are correct to the end of the 2016 season[46]
Denotes seasons in which Morgan won an NRL Premiership
Season Team Matches T G GK % F/G Pts
2010 North Queensland 4 2 0 0 8
2011 North Queensland 4 0 0 0 0
2012 North Queensland 13 4 0 0 16
2013 North Queensland 9 2 0 0.0 0 8
2014 North Queensland 26 10 0 0 40
2015 North Queensland 23 15 0 0 60
2016 North Queensland 22 9 0 0 36
2017 North Queensland 25 11 0 2 46
Career totals 127 53 0 0.0 2 214


Denotes years in which Morgan won a World Cup Title
Denotes years in which Morgan won a Four Nations Title
Season Team Matches T G GK % F/G Pts
2016† Australia 6 1 0 0 4
2017† Australia 6 2 0 0 8
Career totals 12 3 0 0 12

State of Origin[edit]

Denotes years in which Morgan won a State of Origin Series
Season Team Matches T G GK % F/G Pts
2015 Queensland 3 1 0 0 4
2016 Queensland 2 0 0 0 0
2017 Queensland 3 0 0 0 0
Career totals 8 1 0 0 4

Personal life[edit]

Morgan's great-grandfather, Duncan McIvor, played for Queensland in 1915, 100 years before Morgan made his debut for Queensland.[47] Morgan is the cousin-in-law of Perth Wildcats player Damian Martin.[48]


  1. ^ "Michael Morgan - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Morgan looks for a little more Mini". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2017-05-23. 
  4. ^ "Morgo on the road to riches: Cowboys". Daily Mercury. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "Cowboys re-sign Michael Morgan for three years". www.nrl.com. National Rugby League. 30 November 2010. Archived from the original on 21 October 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Cowboys v Roosters". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  7. ^ a b "Cowboys re-sign Michael Morgan | NRL". Zero Tackle. 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  8. ^ "Cowboys get home against Raiders - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  9. ^ "Cowboys Abandon Chase of Brait Anasta". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  10. ^ Heming, Wayne (4 May 2010). "Rep players facing tough NRL turnaround". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Junior Warriors win Toyota Cup in extra time". Stuff.co.nz. 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  13. ^ "Knights Face Cowboys". Foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  14. ^ "Michael Morgan Proving Able Halves Partner for Johnathan Thurston". Heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  15. ^ "Cowboys down Broncos in NRL trial". Wwos.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  16. ^ "Morgan signs new two-year contract | NRL". Zero Tackle. 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  17. ^ "Morgan signs contract extension with the Cowboys - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  18. ^ "Maiden title for Mackay Cutters | Rockhampton Morning Bulletin". Themorningbulletin.com.au. 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  19. ^ "Michael Morgan Tells of Emotional Season". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  20. ^ "Cronk to Resume at Halfback". Foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  21. ^ "Aaron Woods stars in Prime Ministers XIII's 34-16 win over Papua New Guinea". Smh.com.au. 2014-10-12. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  22. ^ "Queensland Young Guns to Help Maroons Regain Interstate Dominance". Foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  23. ^ "COWBOYS UNVEIL 2015 NINES SQUAD". Rugby League Week. 27 January 2015. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  24. ^ "Broncos Smash Catastrophic Cowboys". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  25. ^ "North Queensland Cowboys Have Beaten the Brisbane Broncos 31-20". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  26. ^ "Top 5 Playmaking Spines". NRL.com. NRL.com. 
  27. ^ "State of Origin: Michael Morgan's versatility wins spot: Mal Meninga". Smh.com.au. 2015-06-29. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  28. ^ "Michael Morgan Hailed For His Composure". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  29. ^ "Sate of Origin Live Coverage". Foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  30. ^ Chammas, Michael. "NRL Grand Final 2015: North Queensland Cowboys outgun Brisbane Broncos to win premiership". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  31. ^ "NRL Grand Final Player Ratings". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  32. ^ "NRL - The official site of the National Rugby League - NRL.com". rugbyleagueweek.com.au. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. 
  33. ^ "Australia v New Zealand Trans-Tasman test live blog". News.com.au. 2016-05-07. Retrieved 2017-05-23. 
  34. ^ "Seven new faces in Kangaroos squad". NRL.com. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2017-05-23. 
  35. ^ "Subscribe - couriermail". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
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  37. ^ "Subscribe - couriermail". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  38. ^ "State of Origin: Queensland Maroons Cameron Munster, Michael Morgan team news". Fox Sports. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  39. ^ "State of Origin: Queensland's Michael Morgan backs Cameron Munster for Maroons No.6 jersey". Wwos.nine.com.au. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  40. ^ "Maroons crush Blues in game three to continue era of dominance". Abc.net.au. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  41. ^ "Cowboys break Sharks' hearts with Morgan's extra-time field goal". Abc.net.au. 10 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  42. ^ "Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo; A Look into North Queensland's Future Beyond Johnathan Thurston". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  43. ^ "Michael Morgan NRL column: Johnathan Thurston advice that changed his 2017 season". Fox Sports. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  44. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (19 September 2017). "North Queensland's Michael Morgan: I've raised my game in Johnathan Thurston's absence". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 3 October 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  45. ^ "Magnificent Morgan comes of age for Cowboys, JT says". Abc.net.au. 24 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  46. ^ "Michael Morgan - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  47. ^ "Dream comes true for Michael Morgan's family". Townsville Bulletin. 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  48. ^ "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 

External links[edit]