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Exemplary service earns Morris Australia Day honours

Des Morris is a true Queensland Rugby League legend. 

Involved in the game at all levels for over 50 years, the former Queensland Maroons player, coach and chairman of selectors has seen it all in his golden jubilee of service.

Playing for the Booval Swifts in Ipswich before moving to the Easts Tigers in 1968 where he played for 14 seasons, the barnstorming forward was pivotal in the club's 1972, 1977 and 1978 Brisbane Rugby League premiership success as captain / coach.

He also represented Queensland on 15 occasions from 1969-1979.

Retiring from playing in 1981, Morris took the reins of Wynnum Manly the following season, winning the 1982 and 1984 premierships before being appointed to coach the Maroons in 1985.

Sadly, his tenure as head coach was cut short with the Maroons, only in charge for one season, but he remained in the team fold in recent years as a selector from 1995-2016.

In that time, Morris continued his long-time association with the Tigers, serving as the club's chief executive officer from 2007 to 2016, before retiring to enjoy his beloved team play on the famous Langlands Park hill.

Morris (right) enjoying Country Week in Blackall with QRL statewide competitions manager Dave Maiden (left) and QRL Central chair Danny McGuire (middle).
Morris (right) enjoying Country Week in Blackall with QRL statewide competitions manager Dave Maiden (left) and QRL Central chair Danny McGuire (middle).

Reflecting on his lifetime devotion to the game with Tony Webeck in 2016, the Tigers life member said it was mates who had 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."

His exemplary contribution to the greatest game of all has seen the Easts legend awarded an Order of Australia Medal alongside two other rugby league identities, who were also recognised in this week's Australia Day honours.

The late Paul Goener was also awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his long-term service as a referee in the Wide Bay region and Brisbane Broncos director Anthony Joseph was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for his service to rugby league in Queensland since 1988.