Adrian Morley has been around a bit. So long, in fact, that he actually played alongside Ellery Hanley, the last British hero of rugby league who was appreciated Down Under as much as Moz.
Hanley is one of an impressive array of sporting stars to have contributed chapters to Morley’s autobiography Moz: My Story. Ryan Giggs, Jamie Peacock, Ruben Wiki, Ricky Stuart and Matt King have also chipped in.
But it is only when Hanley starts his tribute that it dawns on you how long Morley has been tearing teams to bits. “I only ever played alongside Adrian for a few minutes,” writes Hanley, who left Leeds in the mid-nineties, “but I saw enough of him then to convince me he was destined to be a great player.”
Morley has been the perfect link between Hanley’s era and today’s full time athletes. At times he has been the leading forward in the world, with a game built on aggression and stamina that carried his intimidating frame through the toughest challenges rugby league has to offer.
But at other times, such as receiving a drink driving ban just weeks after an Ashes test series sponsored by the ‘Think! Don’t Drink and Drive’ campaign, he has made charmingly shambolic mistakes that hark back to the sport’s more amateur days.
Morley can at least smile now, reflecting in the epilogue that ‘by page 65 of this book I’ve been CS gassed three times. Three times! That’s just about as far removed from my life now as it could get.”
Regardless of what has happened off the field, he is a man who will be remembered for his on-field actions – and with a new contract under his arm, there is still more to come.
It is often repeated that Morley is as pleasant off the field as he is frightening on it. Moz: My Story paints a picture of a man who values family, loyalty, faith and friends, but who also knows how to have a laugh with the best of them.
Morley finishes his story by looking ahead, to a time beyond rugby league. “A time when no one will want my autograph or picture. A time when I will have to pay to keep fit, instead of being paid for it.”
He is unlikely to be forgotten.
This is an edited version of a review that appears in the November 2012 issue of Forty-20 magazine. Buy the magazine to read the full, extensive review.