Two years ago, Casey Morgan took a leap of faith in the name of rugby league.
The young forward grew up in Port Macquarie, playing the game for the Camden Haven Eagles from the age of five.
With his father, Joseph, heavily involved in rugby league from as early as Morgan can remember, it was inevitable he too would end up in the game.
“My family has played a lot of rugby league and been involved in a lot of rugby league,” Morgan said.
“My father was a manager of a lot of teams and helped out as club president… having been around his teams, I always wanted to play. I was always watching the footy on the telly.
“As soon as I could, I started playing and fell in love with it ever since. I went through all the grades.”
When he hit his seniors, Morgan then moved across to Wauchope where his paths crossed with trainer – and former Norths Devils chief executive – Jamie Dowse.
And this is when he took his leap of faith, landing himself a spot with the Brisbane Tigers Hastings Deering Colts team.
“Jamie Dowse was good mates with (Tigers Colts coach) Mark Gliddon and he suggested to Gliddo that I come up here and trial for the under 21s,” Morgan said.
“I guess I was having a really good year in my first year of first grade back at home. I was playing good footy and Jamie wanted to give me an opportunity somewhere I could improve my footy.
“It’s been very good. I haven’t been familiar with much of Queensland Rugby League so it was nerve-wracking to make a big move to Brisbane and experiencing a whole new side and whole new club and getting to know everybody.
“But I’ve found it really good. The club is a really good club. I’ve enjoyed playing here a lot, actually.”
In his second season with the Tigers, Morgan is going from strength to strength.
The team are sitting in third on the Colts ladder but are on the same points as the first-placed Tweed Seagulls, with just eight for-and-against points between the two sides.
Burleigh sit in second, five for-and-against points above the Tigers.
In his time at the club, Morgan has also had the opportunity to train with and play in trials for the Hostplus Cup team. He was even the Cup side’s 18th man in Round 15.
While his chance to debut is yet to come, it is a goal for the future, as well as an NRL pre-season. But he will bide his time as he continues to develop with the Colts.
“It was really important to come up here,” the 20-year-old said.
“I’ve always wanted to better my football. Moving up here was a great chance to experience that and I knew the pathways they have to the (Melbourne) Storm as the feeder club.
“I knew they had a good system and I was excited to be part of it.
“The biggest thing I’ve learnt so far is probably just the difference between my first grade back home and the level that’s at Cup and Colts.
“I’m trying to push my footy to the next level… My biggest goal overall is to reach Cup or in that sort of range of an NRL pre-season.”
Morgan – who said his dad has been the biggest influence on his football, including driving him around as a kid and continuing to push and support him today – will line up for the Tigers this Saturday against the Souths Logan Magpies at Totally Workwear Stadium.
There are just three regular season games left this year, with the minor premiership still in reach for the Tigers. Locking in a top four finish – and the guarantee of two weeks of finals action – will also be a huge focus over the coming weeks.
Morgan is hopeful they can go all the way and said their team bond is what has helped them to this point.
“Our team’s form has been really good,” Morgan said.
“We’ve got a really good attitude this year and we’re really tight as a group. We’re playing some good footy.
“We just clicked from the start and came together and really tried to make a good team.
“I made it a personal goal to really perform this year and really stick out and push myself for this year. I really want to win a comp for Tigers in the Colts and push myself and keep going.”
Match: Tigers v Magpies
Round 14 -
Venue: Totally Workwear Stadium, Brisbane