How Souths assistant Morris shaped Sharks

Cronulla’s Will Kennedy credited South Sydney assistant John Morris for turning him into an NRL-caliber full-back as the teams prepare for Saturday’s semi-final.

After being named head coach of the NRL Sharks in 2019, Morris was forced to recruit new talent.

And a year after his firing, Morris’s fingerprints are all over the roster that has Craig Fitzgibbon 80 minutes from a preliminary round in his first year as a manager.

Of Cronulla’s side that lined up against North Queensland in the first week of the final, seven made their NRL debut and two more made their first club outings under Morris.

Morris was fired as manager of the Sharks last year, but has since joined Jason Demetriou in Souths.

Kennedy, who was one of seven to get his first taste of the NRL, remains grateful to his former coach.

“I was pretty close to Johnny Morris, he’s a good guy,” Kennedy told AAP.

“He taught me a lot of things in the first year and gave me my chance.

“I was mostly playing in the halves of SG Ball and he said, ‘Why don’t you try the back?

“He basically got me playing from behind and taught me basic things like floating around the ruck.”

Morris’s deep knowledge of the Sharks could prove invaluable as both teams aim to keep their premiership hopes alive this weekend.

A preliminary final against Penrith awaits the winner of Saturday’s match at Allianz Stadium.

But Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey says he has added more strings to their bow in the last year with Fitzgibbon.

“I’m sure he (Morris) knows my game well and it will be the same for a lot of kids,” said Brailey.

“I feel like I’ve added different things to my game this weekend and I’m sure we’ll have some recovery after the game.

“He gave me my first chance and trained me from SG Ball in the first year.

“He has certainly developed a lot of players here who have proven they can be successful in NRL. Some are here and some are in different NRL clubs. “

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