Michael Morgan is nervous ahead of his first game in eight months. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Michael Morgan is nervous ahead of his first game in eight months. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Cowboys kingpin worried about ball-playing balance

BEING touted as the next North Queensland captain does not faze Michael Morgan.

But the playmaker admitted he was nervous before calling the shots in a new role in his injury return this weekend.

The former Test five-eighth has been named at halfback for the Cowboys' NRL pre-season trial against Melbourne in Mackay on Saturday night - his first game in eight months due to a biceps injury.

After his return from the longest layoff of his career, Morgan is the hot favourite to be named as Cowboys skipper at the club's season launch next month.

But Morgan said his main focus was overcoming a serious bout of butterflies as the Cowboys began life without retired great Johnathan Thurston, who had shared the captaincy with prop Matt Scott.

"I'm a little nervous to be starting to play again, to be honest. It's been eight months since I played," he said.

"That's the longest I have had off.

Welcome back, Michael Morgan. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Welcome back, Michael Morgan. Picture: Zak Simmonds

"And we have a lot of new players, a lot has changed.

"I am nervous about starting a new season.

"I am hopeful I can get back to my best but I am feeling good."

Not helping Morgan's anxiety will be the added responsibility of leading the Cowboys around the park without Thurston.

Morgan is expected to be given a free rein by coach Paul Green, with the option to play both sides of the ruck.

"I just have to get the balance right," Morgan said.

"I have done it (played both sides) a little bit at training but I don't want to get in the way of the other half, whether it is Te Maire (Martin) or Jake (Clifford)."

Te Maire Martin gets first crack at playing alongside Morgan. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
Te Maire Martin gets first crack at playing alongside Morgan. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)

However, Morgan, who will combine with Martin in the halves against the Storm, did not baulk at speculation linking him to the captaincy.

"I would love to do it," Morgan said.

"It would be a huge honour being from Townsville and growing up here and watching the Cowboys.

"What Greeny decides to do we will wait and see."

Morgan said whoever got the captaincy would be flying solo, despite the Cowboys' success under Thurston and Scott's co-leadership which included their breakthrough 2015 premiership.

"It wouldn't bother me too much (being sole captain)," he said.

"The co-captaincy worked well with JT and Thumper (Scott) because of their relationship.

"They balanced each other out but I know Greeny hasn't been a huge fan of co- captaincy, so I doubt he would go back that way."

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