League legend Adrian Morley has revealed how Wigan tried to hijack his NRL move and has urged more of England’s top players to move Down Under.
The former Great Britain prop joined the Roosters from Leeds ahead of the 2001 season and says both Leeds, and a late bid from Wigan, tried to prevent his move to the NRL.
“Leeds offered me more money to stay but Wigan came in at the last minute and offered even more money than Leeds,” Morley reveals on the latest Love Rugby League Podcast.
“I was only 23 and just thought if I don’t go now I might not get another opportunity. I didn’t know much about the geography of the city but the Aussies told me the area to live. It proved to be a great move and a great experience.
“To be fair I never really gave Wigan much thought, but it was nice to be wanted. It was Maurice Lindsey actually who I went and met and had a chat with.”
Morley experienced three NRL Grand Finals with Sydney, winning his first one in 2002. He reflects on his time in Australia as the happiest years of his life.
“My time there was wonderful, the happiest, most enjoyable part of my rugby league career,” he admitted.
“The NRL before I went out was regarded as the toughest domestic competition in the world and it proved to me that it was. We made three Grand Finals and just living in Sydney with that lifestyle was fantastic.
“I went back recently for the 20-year reunion of the 2002 Grand Final-winning team. They flew us out there so it brought back a lot of memories of some really happy times.”
Adrian Morley recommends more British players to move Down Under
Morley believes England’s national team would be strengthened by more of its young talent leaving Super League for the NRL.
“I would 100% encourage more people to do it,” he says.
“When I went I was offered more money to stay in Super League. It wasn’t a monetary decision it was about the challenge.
“Now you do get a bit more money in the NRL so it’s a double whammy of being paid more and living in a fantastic country.
“The NRL with the week-to-week intensity does improve you as a player. You get more of a profile, the weather is great, so any young British players I would advise them to go and try and experience the NRL without a doubt.”