Saturday’s one-off clash with New Zealand will cap a stand-out year for Josh Morris when he makes his home Test debut for the Kangaroos alongside twin brother Brett.
The classy Morris was a key component in Canterbury’s march to the NRL grand final after cementing his spot in the NSW centres with a superb State of Origin series and he now has the chance to do the same for Australia with Justin Hodges unavailable for the Townsville Test due to injury.
Morris’ selection rounds off a remarkable turnaround for the 26-year-old, who only last year was relegated to the Bulldogs’ reserve grade side by then-caretaker coach Jim Dymock.
But like several of his teammates, the former St George Illawarra man has flourished at Belmore since coach Des Hasler’s arrival and he’s one of six Canterbury players involved in Saturday’s clash at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Greg Eastwood, Frank Pritchard, Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett and Sam Kasiano will line up for the Kiwis, with giant prop Kasiano finally ending speculation about who he’ll play for by declaring for New Zealand instead of Queensland and Australia.
Although he jokingly admits he’s wary of the giant prop, who tips the scales at 130kg, Morris is delighted to see so many of his teammates playing on the international stage.
“It’s good to see the boys rewarded for their season by being called up by the Kiwis,” Morris said.
“Big Sam in particular has had a great season and gets to play his first Test and I am delighted for him.
“In the warm-ups over the last few years, he’s put a shot on me and chipped a couple of teeth, so hopefully he doesn’t get hold of me and do something wrong to me on Saturday.”
The selection of Dragons winger Brett will see the brothers line up together in the green and gold for the first time since 2009, when they scored two tries apiece in a 42-4 win over France in Paris.
That game was the first time a set of twins had played for Australia since Kevin and Kerrod Walters in 1991 and Josh is pleased his family will get the chance to see it happen again, closer to home.
“We played together in Origin in the third game and that was a great feeling,” Morris said.
“And now we are playing for our country. There’s no higher honour in the game. It’s my first Test in Australia and most of the family will be there to see it happen.”