One training session is all late NSW State of Origin call-up Josh Morris will have to perfect his right-side combination with Blake Ferguson, but coach Laurie Daley is adamant it will be enough.
Josh Dugan’s withdrawal on Sunday has given Morris and Ferguson precious little time to prepare for the enormous task of battling Queensland pair Greg Inglis and Corey Oates in Wednesday night’s series-opener at ANZ Stadium.
Morris filled in at various positions while in camp with the Blues in Coffs Harbour last week, but was released to re-join Canterbury on Thursday when sessions increased in intensity.
Recalled three days later, Daley believes Morris’ vast experience – he’s played in 11 of the past 12 interstate games at right centre – will hold him in good stead.
“He trained Wednesday, Thursday and then he missed the weekend sessions but he’ll have a run tomorrow and that’ll be enough,” Daley said on Monday.
“He’s been with us now for 4-5 years and nothing’s really changed.”
Daley said he immediately apologised to Morris, who flew in from Canberra to re-unite with the squad on Sunday morning.
“It’s not the ideal preparation. I said that to him, I said sorry,” Daley said.
“It’s not the best way to do it, but no one saw what happened coming and that’s what happened. But again, you’ve just got to prepare well.
“He actually told me when he played his first Origin, that’s how it unfolded. It was in a similar situation.”
Daley was also quick to defend his backroom staff in the wake of criticism from Bulldogs coach Des Hasler over the handling of Dugan’s withdrawal and Morris’ subsequent call-up.
“Everyone respects Des’ opinion, obviously very frustrated and everyone can understand that,” he said.
“To take a player off him the day of the game is not ideal. It wasn’t ideal for us to lose Duges. Unfortunately that’s the way it panned out.
“I know what my medical staff can do, and they’re great people, some of the best medical staff in the business. But everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”