Morley craving more international action
Adrian Morley admits the City of Salford Stadium on Sunday would provide a fitting time and place to mark the end of his international career, but says the only decision he has made has been to not retire.
The 35-year-old Warrington Wolves captain, who became the most experienced English international when he made his 50th appearance in last November’s Gillette Four Nations final, admits he felt some pressure to follow the example of Jamie Peacock when he retired from Test rugby in June.
After all, Peacock is seven months younger than Morley, who lost his place in the England team for the mid-season series against the Exiles.
However, Morley produced a strong finish to the campaign with the Wolves to earn a recall from national coach Steve McNamara and, after playing in both autumn internationals so far, is expected to line up for England in the final against France in his home city of Salford.
“This game would probably be a good way to finish, playing in my home town,” Morley said.
“I’m 35 now and when Jamie Peacock retired there were a few questions headed my way, especially when I got overlooked for the Exiles series.
“But there’s a voice at the back of my head saying ’once you’re retired, that’s it’.
“I made it a goal to try and get back into the England fold and I’m delighted to be back in.
“If it gets to the point next year - and it might do - when Steve Mac says ‘I’m not selecting you’, I’m big enough and man enough to take it on the chin.
“But I’ve said publicly that, if you are playing well enough and your country needs you, it’s your duty to put your hand up.
“I’ve made the decision now that I’m never going to retire. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens next year.”
Morley, who made his international debut as a Leeds Rhinos player in 1996, played in the last two World Cups, in 2000 and 2008, and has not given up hope of completing a hat-trick in 2013, although he accepts the odds are probably stacked against him.
James Graham, Eorl Crabtree and Sam Burgess should all be back pushing for England spots after sitting out the current series and Morley is conscious of the pressure being applied by a new breed of front-row forwards led by his Warrington team-mate Chris Hill.
“I’m contracted next year with Warrington,” he said. “It’s not been a great year for me personally in terms of my form, although injuries played a part in that.
“I’m hoping to improve my club form next year and then we’ll have to wait and see.
“Age is creeping up on me and it will be tough to make it but it’s not totally out of the question.
“There are some fantastic players in the front row who are not in this squad.
“And Chris Hill might not look it but he’s only a young man and he’s got a big future ahead of him so there are all those factors to take into account.
“I’ve been reasonably happy with my last couple of games without being a world beater.
“I’ve been trying to have an influence on these young front rowers like Chris and Lee Mossop.”
Morley’s colourful career, which included a six-year stint in Australia with Sydney Roosters, is encapsulated in his warts-and-all autobiography, “Moz: My story”, which is ghosted by Wigan journalist Phil Wilkinson and released by Vision Sports Publishing next Monday, priced £18.99.
“I hope it’s an interesting read,” Morley said. “There are some things in there I’m not particularly proud of, especially early on in my life and my career, but also things that I’m very proud of.
“I wasn’t desperate to do it. It was something that didn’t really appeal to me but I looked at a few of my old team-mates who had done books, like Iestyn Harris, Barry McDermott and (the late) Terry Newton who said it doesn’t make you a load of money but it’s nice to keep for your kids and grandkids.
“I thought it would be a pain in the backside when I signed up to do it but it was quite the opposite. Re-living my career wasn’t a chore at all. It was therapeutic.”
The book includes a foreword from another sportsman with exceptional longevity and neighbour of Morley, Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs.