Players of Interest – Michael Morgan
2018 Stats: Games played (11), average (44), minutes per game (75), PPM (0.58)
2017 Stats: Games played (23), average (59), minutes per game (78), PPM (0.75)
Despite having represented his state and country and producing enormous plays when needed most (the flick pass to Kyle Feldt in the dying moments of the 2015 Grand Final), Michael Morgan has never been the sexiest SuperCoach pick in a world where Jonathon Thurston and Shaun Johnson were the clear-cut halves pairing.
However, the halves landscape is shaping to be significantly different in 2019 since Thurston has now retired and Johnson is at a new club with question marks around how his new team will impact his output.
Morgan has been known as somewhat of a rollercoaster for SuperCoach owners, however it might surprise most that he has averaged a hyper-consistent 59 PPG each season from 2015 to 2017. Notably, in 2017 when Thurston missed 16 games due to injury, Morgan took his play to a new level and averaged 67.25 PPG, while giving hope to the proud fans in the north that there would be life after the GOAT. There were certainly ups and downs during this period with Morgo topping the ton twice (including a 147-point whopper against the Raiders), as well as scoring 40 or less on four occasions.
He crashed back to earth in 2018 upon Thurston’s return which reverted him to a secondary role. He appeared uncomfortable next to the future Immortal before injuring his bicep during an inspiring Roger Tuivasa-Sheck solo try and missing the rest of the season. This saw him slump to a meagre average of 44 PPG for the season.
Looking ahead to 2019, we cannot discount his inspired play in the reasonable sample size without Thurston given he will be the clear top dog in the Cowboys halves with either Te Maire Martin or Jake Clifford beside him. Even if he only returns to his usual 59 PPG average (despite 2017 showing we could expect higher), by today’s standard that would place him as the fourth highest averaging halfback or five-eighth at the 13th highest price at either position – cheaper than players such as Ryley Jacks and Lachlan Lewis! He may not have the base point security of kicking like Johnson, Cherry-Evans or Nathan Cleary (the three halfbacks averaging higher than 59 PPG) but he possesses the rare dual position status that the others don’t, and I’d happily bank the $165k+ saving to bolster the rest of my squad.
In a world where the halves are not as set-and-forget as they once were, you could do far worse than ride the Michael Morgan rollercoaster. Just don’t get trigger happy and rage trade him at the first sign of a low score, because a massive outing will be just around the corner.
Check out the other Players of Interest articles in this years series below: