No sleeping on the job as Morrison plots new career path

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THERE will be no lazy lie-in for Glenn Morrison this morning.

Ordinarily, that would be the norm ahead of a Wakefield v Bradford fixture, whichever side he was playing for.

The much-respected back-row served both clubs with distinction during a stellar five-year career in Super League.

But, ahead of this evening’s televised contest between the West Yorkshire rivals, the Australian finds himself on new ground.

A severe shoulder injury suffered during pre-season training means the 35-year-old is not going to be around another season in Wakefield colours. Not on the pitch, at least.

Instead, Morrison’s enforced retirement means he has entered the realms of coaching sooner than expected and he will be on the sidelines tonight as one of Richard Agar’s assistants at Belle Vue.

It means the routines are all far different as the ex-Parramatta Eels star explained to the Yorkshire Post.

“If I was playing, especially ahead of a night match, I’d try and sleep in if I could,” he said.

“The wife would get the kids out of the way and I’d get some extra sleep.

“But, as a coach, it’s different. You’re up and about as normal. You might go over some tape and then get to the ground probably an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half, earlier than the players to make sure everything is ready for when they arrive.

“It’s important they don’t have to do anything when they get there.”

However, when kick-off looms, Morrison admits the old instincts are hard to suppress.

“I just miss the intensity of game day,” he said.

“You still get it during the week when you’re around the boys training but when they put their boots on to go play I do miss getting whacked and bashed around.

“I loved getting involved, making tackles, getting bruised every week knowing you’re going to be tested against quality opposition.

“It’s a different mentality for a coach. You know you’ve put all the hard work in during the week and you’re ready to go but you still get nerves as it’s then out of your hands; you’re not able to do anything about it.

“As a player, you know you can go out there and affect the result.”

Morrison, whose form was still so rich that he earned a call-up to play for the victorious Exiles against England last June, is not the only one who finds himself unexpectedly in a role change this term.

Ex-Bradford prop Lee Radford, 32, has retired at Hull FC to join their coaching staff while the legendary Sean Long, 35, has succumbed to injury to forge his own coaching path as an assistant with Salford.

Ironically, at Wakefield, there is a more senior assistant who is younger than all three.

James Webster was just 30 when the wily scrum-half retired to be Agar’s deputy at Hull two years ago.

He followed him to Trinity last autumn and rekindled an old link with Morrison.

“In my first year as a first grade player at Balmain Tigers in ’96, James was in the scholarship,” he said. “He used to come around the schools with us but now I’m the rookie and the boot’s on the other foot.

“Webbo was always a good kid with a great footy brain; you knew even way back then he’d be a good coach.

“He’s showing now that knowledge of the game and it’s been good for me working with him.”

While Wakefield and Bradford players battle it out for Super League points, Morrison, below, will be busy passing on Agar’s instructions during the 80 minutes ahead. “I’m enjoying it all,” he said.

“I’ve been doing some long days, helping coach the first team during the day and then the Under-20s three nights a week.

“But it’s like an apprenticeship – you put the time in during the early days and, hopefully, get the results later.

“I’m learning all the time and seeing results – some of the stuff I’ve been putting on the training park is getting played out on the pitch.”

Fans favourite Morrison, who played 50 games for Bulls before joining Trinity ahead of the 2010 campaign, added: “I still live near their training ground and do the odd bit of spying and get some inside information from the supporters!

“I went to see them against Wigan, who were in really good shape last Sunday. Bradford got a result at Castleford, though, and have their own quality.

“They need to win these sorts of games against the ones who will be around them going for that seventh or eighth spot.

“Likewise, we know we have to get the result to compete for those play-off places come the end of the year.”

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