Big players know when to make a big impact and for representative winger Brett Morris, it was all about the impact as he scored a double and helped the St George Illawarra Dragons to a narrow win over arch rivals, the Cronulla Sharks.
Pipping them 14-12 away from home at Remondis Stadium, the win means the Dragons are still undefeated this season – something that is sure to get the monkeys off of Steve Price’s back.
As for Morris, any Dragons fan will tell you that he is a favourite and he excels weekly – he showed why – as he scored an early contender for try of the year as he flew high and leapt like a tiger through the air before somehow planting the ball down whilst under pressure from Sharks defenders.
In a match that is traditionally lively, it lived up to the billing as both sides knuckled down and gave it their all, eager to outdo their rival in whatever way possible.
Despite the Sharks best efforts – and the best efforts of veteran hooker John Morris – it was not enough for the Sharks.
Well aware of how tough the game was going to be, Price was pleased to have come out the other side.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight down here, we knew what to expect and we certainly got that tonight but the effort and commitment they’ve shown for each other and the team and to keep them to 12 points is very pleasing,” said Price.
Perhaps the biggest factor for the Dragons – something that let them down in 2013 – is the change in mental attitude, an attribute highlighted by captain Ben Creagh.
“There’s a bit of confidence to the side which is great but what I noticed when they scored that try with 10 to go and it was 14-12 and I went back behind the goal line, blokes were keen to get back out there and defend again and defend our lead,” said Creagh.
“They kept working hard for each other and that’s something I think we were missing last year.”
For the Sharks, it was another loss and it continues their disappointing start to the season – despite missing several experienced players.
For coach Peter Sharp, he knows the side have to do a lot better and improve moving forward.
“I thought we were a lot better tonight, but we certainly have to do a lot better again,” said Sharp.
“We need to work hard and improve.”
Sharks captain Wade Graham echoed the sentiments, highlighting the improvement in his side’s overall energy.
“I thought there was a lot more energy today in our performance from last Monday night, so that’s obviously a positive we can take out of tonight,” said Graham.
“When the chips were down, the boys dug deep.”
3. Brett Morris
2. John Morris
1. Trent Merrin