Sharks block Morris NRL release request

Laine Clark
Cronulla's Josh Morris wants to join his twin brother Brett at Sydney Roosters

Cronulla coach John Morris expects Josh Morris to commit to the Sharks' 2020 NRL season after knocking back the star centre's request to be released.

The former Test and NSW flyer had hoped to join his twin brother Brett at Sydney Roosters after reportedly being "filthy" over Newcastle recruit Jesse Ramien's arrival which was expected to push him out to the wing.

But the Cronulla coach confirmed he had told Morris on Tuesday that they would not release him from the last year of his contract, saying he was an integral part of the team with Matt Moylan (hamstring) and Josh Dugan (knee) under an injury cloud.

"There is an option there for him to take up a deal to play with his brother but as head coach of the Sharks I have got to make sure I put out a competitive team on the park every week that can win us games and hopefully win the grand final," he said.

"Josh Morris is our most experienced player and he will be here in 2020.

"We have just lost 1000 games of experience with Paul Gallen gone, Matt Prior gone, Siose Feki gone, Kurt Capewell gone and Jayden Brailey gone."

The Sharks mentor said the veteran had taken the news well and expected him to hit the ground running in 2020, starting at this week's NRL Nines in Perth after being named in a strong Sharks squad.

"He's been pretty good about it, as you would expect," he said.

"I think it is a difficult case. Josh has got his brother Brett (at Roosters). I appreciate and understand that but knowing Josh Morris he is the ultimate professional.

"Hopefully this will be water off a duck's back for him and he will commit to the season proper.

"But what are we to do? Let our most experienced guy walk out 30 days before a competition starts? I think our members and fans deserve better than that."

The Sharks mentor claimed he was unaware of Morris being upset by Ramien's arrival, saying the centre found it "gutwrenching" to ask for a release.

He also questioned reports that Morris would be pushed from left centre to the wing due to Ramien.

"He (Ramien) definitely wasn't signed over the top of Josh and Jesse is a specialist right centre," he said.

"(And) he (Morris) has trained most of the pre-season at fullback. He is a better chance of playing fullback because Matty Moylan is still restricted ... and Duges is out injured.

"He is a crucial part of our team, whether it be fullback, centre or wing."

Dugan was not named for the Nines after being rarely seen at pre-season training and the Sharks coach did not know when he would play again.

Reports emerged last week that Cronulla's medical team had knocked back Dugan's request for a medical retirement but it was news to the coach.

"Josh is dealing with a medical issue around his knee. He has been limited in training so we are just trying to find out what is going on with that," he said.

"(But) nothing has come across our desk about a medical retirement."