Roosters winger Brett Morris has hung up the boots at the age of 34, bringing to a close one of the great rugby league careers.
Morris’s 276th NRL game, in round eight this year, was his first as Roosters captain but ended in disaster when he suffered an ACL rupture late in the clash at Newcastle.
Faced with a recovery of at least nine months in what was already likely to be his final season, Morris has decided to draw the curtain on a glittering career. He announced his decision at the SCG on Monday.
“Not everybody gets to go out on their own terms, but looking back over my career, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunities I’ve had, and I hang up the boots a very proud and content man, knowing that the time is right,” he said.
“There are many people who have played an important role in helping me in my career throughout the years, and I’d like to extend my thanks to them all, right back to my junior club the Kiama Knights.
“In the NRL, I’ve been fortunate to be coached by and to play with some of the game’s best, and I’m grateful to all the coaches and teammates I’ve had over the years.
“More recently, it’s been an honour to wear the Sydney Roosters jersey and I will always be proud to have captained the side in what was my final match.”
His 176 tries in 276 club games for the Dragons, Bulldogs and Roosters trails only Ken Irvine (212), Billy Slater (190) and Steve Menzies (180) in this country.
Brett Morris picks the favourite tries of his career
He won premierships with St George Illawarra in 2010 and with the Roosters in 2019 after debuting at the Dragons in 2006.
He scored a stunning 23 tries in 18 Tests for Australia, including a double in the 2013 World Cup final win.
Morris also played 15 Origins for NSW with four tries and was a member of the drought-breaking 2014 squad, memorably making a match-winning and series-defining tackle with a broken shoulder in game one.
He spent most of his 16 seasons in the top grade commonly regarded as the best winger in the sport.
His blend of speed, strength, power, athleticism, competitiveness and professionalism made him the full package in terms of the modern-day winger.
One of the best defensive flankers throughout his career and a huge threat in the air, Morris was one of the great finishers and capable of turning any half-chance into points.
“To Trent [Robinson] and the coaching and performance staff, I found a new lease on life here at the Roosters. Since I first walked through the door in late 2018, I have been challenged every day, but because of that, I’ve also had some of my most enjoyable memories on and off the footy field,” he said in the club statement announcing his retirement.
“To my current teammates, we’re a tight group and it was a privilege every time I got to run out with you.
“To one teammate in particular, it was awesome to be able to start and finish my career with my brother Josh, and the memories we made are some I’ll cherish forever.
“Family is incredibly important to me, and I certainly wouldn’t have been in the position to enjoy 16 seasons in the NRL without the unwavering support of my mother Karen, my siblings, and most of all, my wife Kate and our children Emily, Ellie and James.”
Robinson said it had been a true honour to coach him.
Brett is one of the best, if not the best, finishers in the history of our game.
“The way Brett has gone about playing the game throughout his career is testament to the incredible athlete and character that he is.
“Brett is one of the best, if not the best, finishers in the history of our game, and it is important we acknowledge his achievements over the years; not only at club level but also in the representative arena.
“Brett’s professional approach to his training, playing and recovery is testament to the man he is. He is a man of integrity and has been a great mentor to his teammates, making those around him better, both on and off the field.
“Fairytales take shape in different forms, and while Brett didn’t get the end to his career he so richly deserved, an exciting new chapter is about to begin for him.”