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He's quite content for now mixing with Easts Tigers sponsors in the corporate box at Suzuki Stadium (aka Langlands Park) but there is a day coming where Des Morris will be able to stand on the hill with some old footy mates and watch his beloved team run around.

Close to finishing up on a decade as CEO of Easts, the club's most capped player will stay on in a football operations role until the end of the year because, as you will find out, he's a man that has found it hard to say no.

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This is the 49th winter to have passed since Morris was first lured from Ipswich to join the powerhouse Easts club in the Brisbane Rugby League, which in 1968 played on a field with home and away sheds and the old grandstand as the only amenities.

The new era of the Intrust Super Cup comes to Suzuki Stadium on Sunday afternoon when the Tigers host the Townsville Blackhawks in the shadows of the sprawling Easts Leagues Club and both from a club and competition perspective Morris is somewhat in awe of how far the game has come.

After a record 226 games for the club including premierships in 1972, 1977 and 1978 he was told by Easts after the 1979 season that he was no longer wanted, so he headed across town to Wynnum Manly in 1980 and coached them to premierships in 1982 and 1984.

He coached the Queensland Origin team in 1985 and eventually returned to lead Easts again, first as a coach and then subsequently as a member of the committee, then president, and ultimately CEO.

It's a lifetime of devotion to rugby league that few in the game can match and although confident the time is right to step aside from senior management roles he understands it will be a chapter of his life closing for good.

"I think from the club's point of view it's better I move on now and get someone else in to further our cause," Morris said.

"I'm a bit apprehensive about it but I'm also looking forward to being able to just go and enjoy the footy and catch up with a few mates."

It's those mates who have not only fostered Morris's love for the game but also kept drawing him back in.

It was out of a sense of loyalty to another Easts man in John Lang that Morris got caught up in the Super League war in the late 1990s.

First appointed to be a Queensland selector in 1995, Morris had two years away from the post in 1997 and 1998 after taking up Lang's offer of assisting him to put together the Australian Super League team.

As players were cashing cheques, Morris and representatives from other Brisbane club teams went cap in hand asking for funding only to be turned away by both warring parties.

But when Lang said he needed the help of someone he could trust, Morris became a Super League defector, of sorts.

He played for Queensland on 15 occasions back when the state's best wore the blue of New South Wales, his last match for Queensland Firsts coming one year before the advent of State of Origin.

He would have liked to have had that chance to play in a team consisting of all Queensland's best players – "They were in the old days when we didn't win too often" – but he remains philosophical about his time playing for his state.

"You don't like getting beaten all the time and back in those days you'd play with guys in the Queensland team one year and then the next year they'd be playing for New South Wales against you," Morris recalled.

"It would have been nice to play Origin but it's the era you're in and that's all there is to it.

"With the guys we had coming through at that time such as Wally Lewis, Chris Close, Mal Meninga, the timing was right for us and we've been able to maintain that since then, bar a couple of years."

And so we get to what must rank among Morris's favourite weeks of the year; his beloved Tigers playing on home turf on a (hopefully) sunny Brisbane Sunday and then the build-up to the mighty Maroons he has hand-picked taking on the arch enemy from south of the border.

It's another week in a lifetime of treasured rugby league memories, but it's the mates who have made the journey such an enriching one.

"The thing I hold most dear is the mateships that you make on the way through, from all clubs," Morris said.

"I was lucky enough to play in the 1968 grand final against Brothers and there are a few of the Brothers guys I still keep in contact with.

"It goes back too to my days in Ipswich, there is still a group of us that catch up every year.

"It's the friendships that you form that you appreciate."

A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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