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Renouf: Why Morgan should go back and watch 2015 heroics

Cowboys skipper Michael Morgan could get a big lift in confidence if he goes back and watches how he set up that 2015 grand final try for Kyle Feldt in the final minute of regular time.

The way he set up that try showed that even at the most important moment of the season he has the ability to turn a game with individual brilliance.

He just needs to realise that he can do it more often than not. By looking at the lead-up to that Feldt try a few times he will realise that he is an outstanding footy player and that he can make a difference off his own bat.

I know from my own experience what something special in a grand final can do for you. My try in the 1992 grand final for the Broncos set up the rest of my career.

The making of JT's statue

That lifted me contract-wise and got me in Australia's World Cup team. Aside from that, it lifted me for the rest of my career by giving me a lot of confidence.

What Morgan did for Feldt was instinctive and off-the-cuff. He backed himself and I think he needs to do more of that this year.

Morgan is yet to move out of the shadow of the retired Johnathan Thurston.

That is not his fault because he played his best football with JT if you leave out that purple patch at the end of 2017.

Michael Morgan after the 2015 grand final.
Michael Morgan after the 2015 grand final. ©NRL Photos

That is not to say JT just made him looked good. He complemented JT and stood out in his own right when he played beside him.

I think Morgan has something to prove this year and I reckon he will rise to the occasion. That is just one reason I believe the Cowboys will do well and move from 14th last year and into the top eight.

I've had a look at the historical statistics of the Cowboys and last year they scored 378 points, the lowest return since 1998 when the club finished 16th in a 20-team competition.

Their recruitment in the off-season has been targeted at fixing that problem.

We saw what Valentine Holmes did in the seasons before he left rugby league. He scored 22 tries in 2018 and has more tries than games for both Australia and Queensland.

When it comes to scoring tries there is more to it than just finishing as a winger or fullback.

You've got to have the game sense to get yourself in position and he is very good at that. He can attack from anywhere and has the speed and competitiveness.

A look back at the 2015 Grand Final

The Cowboys also now have Esan Marsters in the centres and he's got footwork and an offload. Having good footwork allows you that freedom to get that offload away, so one goes with the other.

Marsters will get himself halfway through a tackle with his late feet and that means he will mostly have his arm free to create that second phase play.

Paul Green has a decision to make on Morgan’s halves partner between Scott Drinkwater and Jake Clifford. Drinkwater's form looks too good to ignore.

He has the speed and skill to thrive there and even though I've mostly seen him at fullback he did play in the halves growing up and for the Australian Schoolboys.

Last year they didn't have Justin O'Neill for most of the season and Kyle Feldt missed the first eight rounds and those two were missed, but they are both fit and healthy and will make a difference in that attacking area.

Morgan and Holmes combine for try against Storm

The good thing about the team Green has is that a number of those backs can play in multiple positions so it gives him scope.

The Cowboys forwards have enough quality to allow the backline to thrive. Jason Taumalolo is a freak. He is so consistent and nothing will change there.

Coen Hess looks like a player re-born and he needs to be. If he was playing to his potential last year in his natural position there is no way he would have been in the centres.

Jordan McLean has been solid but he can be better. We are yet to see him play like he did when he was at Melbourne so this could be his year.

The forwards did OK last year but the backline had no strike or speed. Now they do.

Green doesn't want a repeat of last year and I'm sure he will see massive improvements, and that doesn't augur well for Brisbane when they go up and play them in the first game at Townsville's new stadium.

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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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