Adrian Morley: I wasn’t a dirty player

Adrian Morley insists he was an honest but aggressive prop forward and says confrontation has now been lost from rugby league.

The former Great Britain international was sent off nine times in his 20-year career including a famous red card after just 12 seconds against Australia in 2003. 

But Morley has told Love Rugby League that he was never a nasty player, and would have been able to adapt to a more sanitised version of the sport currently being played. 

“In the UK I never got substantial bans. I was sent off nine times in a 20-year career so I’m quite happy with that,” he says on the Love Rugby League podcast.

PODCAST: Adrian Morley on enforcer Morgan Knowles, disciplinary tightropes & NRL memories

“Barrie McDermott beat me by a country mile! I was expected to be a bit of an enforcer so you do need to have a little more confrontation about you, but that has gone out of the game.

“You raise a fist now and you get banned and that is the right way to go for the sport but it was different back in the day.

“There were certain players you went out to try and get but I’d like to think I wasn’t a dirty player. A lot of my bans were high tackles but mistimed challenges, apart from the knee in the head very few were out-and-out thuggery, punching or kicking. It was careless rather than pre-meditated.”


Super League this season has clamped down on big contacts to safeguard player welfare, with players incurring lengthy bans for mistimed contacts or late shots on the kicker.

And despite his career as a fiery enforcer, Morley insists he would still have survived in the modern game.

“I’d have adapted if I played now and curbed the way I played. 

“It’s funny, when I was asked to captain Warrington back in 2008 I made a mental decision then not to play the way I used to play with the rash challenges and decisions, and I wasn’t sent off for the rest of my career. So I dare say I would have done that in the modern era.”

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