Wayne Bennett has blasted reports suggesting former North Queensland Cowboys star Michael Morgan could come out of retirement to join the Dolphins.
Bennett is attempting to build a roster for the Dolphins inaugural NRL campaign in 2023. But from the outside it looks as though he is having one or two issues.
Jamayne Isaako, Kenny Bromwich, Jesse Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi are among the players to sign. However a number of high-profile players have slipped through the net.
Wayne Bennett missed out on Ponga
Kalyn Ponga is the latest after he signed a new five-year deal with Newcastle. Cameron Munster remains on the radar but the Melbourne Storm ace is going nowhere just yet.
The playmaker is under contract until the end of 2023 and will see it out. It means Bennett faces going in to the 2023 season without the marquee signing he wants.
That kicked off speculation linking Morgan with a move out of retirement. Morgan quit the game at the age of 30 due to chronic shoulder problems.
Before that he made 168 appearances for the Cowboys between 2010 and 2021. He also played in 12 State of Origins for Queensland and 12 Tests for Australia.
It goes without saying that Morgan was a class act in his time. And Bennett would jump at the chance to have a fully fit Morgan in his ranks.
However Bennett says that Morgan retired for a reason and dismissed all the talk. When quizzed by reporters the former South Sydney coach did not mince his words.
Bennett rules out swoop
“That is absolute garbage, Michael Morgan’s name has not been mentioned once,” he said. “If Michael is like Sam Burgess with his shoulder then he would be no chance of coming back to the NRL.
“These guys have a life to lead after football and their shoulders get so bad they can’t even lift things. I saw what Sam Burgess went through.
“I would not even consider signing Michael Morgan. He was a wonderful player at his best. But I am not going to chase a guy who has been medically retired. I would love to recruit guys like Sam Burgess and Matt Gillett. But their shoulders are stuffed and that is the reality with that type of injury.”
The Dolphins have just eight players on their roster for 2023. They have been able to sign players since 1st November. Bennett said he was prepared to be patient and wait for the right signings. It looks as though that patience could be tested to the max.
As well as Munster, Warriors starlet Reece Walsh is also said to be on the radar.