Rugby League

Premiership-winning Cowboy announces retirement

Cowboys playmaker Michael Morgan has announced his retirement from the NRL.

The 2015 premiership winner has battled a recurrent shoulder injury in recent years, managing only 8 games since the beginning of the 2020 season.

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The 29-year-old has informed the Cowboys of his decision, with an official announcement expected in the coming days, The Courier-Mail first reported.

Morgan made his NRL debut in round 9 of the 2010 NRL season and went on to play 168 games for the Cowboys over 12 years.

The Townsville Brothers junior enjoyed a decorated career — he played for Australia on 12 occasions and was named Dally M Halfback Of The Year in 2017.

In a period when Cooper Cronk and Jonathan Thurston maintained strongholds on the Queensland halfback and five-eighth spots, Morgan did exceptionally well to appear for the state’s State of Origin side 12 times, usually off the bench.

Morgan played opposite Thurston in the Cowboys’ first-ever premiership win in 2015.

One of the all-time great grand finals, Morgan played at five-eighth as North Queensland defeated state rivals Brisbane in extra time.

Morgan will go down in history as one of the Cowboys’ biggest ever stars.Source:AAP

Morgan also played in the side’s 2017 Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Storm.

Speculation that Morgan would announce his retirement has loomed since he re-injured his shoulder two weeks into the season.

His decision will add to coach Todd Payten’s halves headache — the rookie coach has been experimenting with halves pairings this season amid speculation that the club could sign out-of-favour Bunnies halfback Adam Reynolds for 2022 and beyond.

Morgan’s retirement will likely free up enough space in the club’s salary cap to make a play at a half of Reynolds’ calibre.

Payten’s stint in the Townsville top job has gotten off to a tough start. The Cowboys are one of three NRL teams to begin the season with four straight losses.

The side will hope to open their account in 2021 with a win over the Tigers this Sunday.

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