Morley back from the brink
A month ago Adrian Morley was wondering if he would ever play again, but tomorrow he will be attempting to lead Warrington Wolves to their maiden Grand Final at the expense of his former club Leeds Rhinos.
The veteran England prop spent a worrying 10 weeks on the sidelines after taking a knock to the head in the win over St Helens in June.
What was initially thought to be simple case of concussion turned into a saga for Morley when the double vision failed to clear up and his club were forced to scour the country to find the right medical advice.
The problem was eventually diagnosed as muscle damage and he successfully underwent surgery in time to play against Huddersfield Giants in the opening round of the play-offs a fortnight ago.
“It was a worry,” Morley admitted. “No doctor or specialist could tell me what it was or give me a time frame for when or if I could be back.
“Things go through your mind - am I going to play again this year, am I going to play again at all? I was delighted to be diagnosed and delighted that they’ve been able to treat it but, for a while, I was in a pretty dark place.”
Morley, 34, made his comeback before having the operation, after being assured by the medical experts that he could not make the injury worse, and played a key role in Warrington’s important win over Wigan Warriors that effectively sealed the League Leaders’ Shield.
However, with a little over 90 minutes rugby in the last three months, Morley admits he will be rusty against Leeds in tomorrow’s qualifying semi-final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
“Personally I would have liked to have played last week but, looking at the big picture, it’s great that we got the chance to rest up some bumps and bruises,” he said.
“I am quite lucky with my base fitness. Don’t get me wrong, I was still blowing more than I normally would but the adrenalin got me through.
“My match fitness is probably not where it should be but I still feel I can do a job. The rest might make me stronger at the end of the year and, you never know, it might add a year onto my career!”
Warrington are further boosted by the return of Morley’s England team-mate Ben Westwood, who has been out for a month with a knee injury, while Leeds centre Carl Ablett has recovered from a head knock to reclaim his place.