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'Inspirational' captain Moz gives Warrington Wolves a confidence boost
IT should never be underestimated how important it is to have a captain like Adrian Morley leading your team out for a match as big as a Grand Final.
A veteran of more than 400 rugby league games in Super League, the NRL and for Great Britain and England, Morley’s achievements in the sport are almost unparalleled by any of his fellow countrymen.
A winner of the NRL and Super League Grand Finals with Sydney Roosters and Bradford Bulls respectively, Morley has since added three Challenge Cup winners’ medals with Warrington Wolves to the one he won with Leeds in 1999.
That image of Moz lifting the cup with Lee Briers to the jubilant Wolves supporters in 2009 is likely to stay in the collective conscience of the town for many years to come.
For prop Chris Hill, the guidance of Morley throughout the season has helped him on the path to a superb debut Super League season that includes a senior England call-up and winning the player and players’ player of the year award at Wolves’ end of season bash.
“Morley is outstanding, how he goes about his business and his captaincy role,” said the 24-year-old.
“He is not a massive talker, but the way he leads us makes us all feel more confident.
“It is great to have him there and it gives you the extra confidence you need before a final or big game.
“He is the best player I have played with, and to walk out into a Grand Final with Adrian Morley is a dream come true.”
This is a sentiment repeated throughout the team and it paints a picture of Morley as a vital cog in the Wolves machine not just on the pitch but at the training ground.
It also demonstrates just how important his recovery from the eye, neck and shoulder injuries he suffered at the start of the season has been in Wolves’ campaign.
“He certainly leads by example, he is an unbelievable captain and an even better player,” said Mike Cooper, whose inspired performance in Saturday’s semi-final defeat of St Helens has put him forward for a place in the title decider.
“It 100 per cent helps to have players like Adrian Morley around to lead us out.
“I am sure that as we lead up to the game we will see a bit more guidance from those players and we will try and emulate that.”
Morley has started to thrive in the role over the last few years.
“Myself, Tony Smith (coach) and Micky Higham (a Grand Final winner with Saints in 2002), those who have been there and done it, shoulder the responsibility of helping those who haven’t,” said 35-year-old Moz.
“Part of that is working closely with Tony in the last few years to help me evolve as a captain. I am a better leader now and hopefully that will help us on Saturday.”