NRL great Brett Morris formally retires

·3-min read

Brett Morris harbours a long career in coaching after formally retiring from the NRL in front of awestruck Sydney Roosters teammates.

Morris suffered a season-ending ACL injury against Newcastle last month and made the inevitable call on Monday that he was hanging up the boots.

Widely considered the finest winger of his generation, the 34-year-old received a standing ovation from every member of the Roosters' playing and coaching staff following his emotional announcement at the SCG.

"Whilst it's not ideal with the injury, the time for me is right," Morris said.

"I've had a wonderful career spanning 16 seasons. I started as a skinny young kid and finished as an old man with a couple of kids bruised and battered.

"But my rugby league journey has been a wonderful ride. I started playing rugby league at four years old.

"It was a long apprenticeship before we (with twin brother Josh) played NRL but it was only option A - rugby league was always option A. There was no other option.

"Hopefully my journey in rugby league is not finished yet."

Morris retires in fourth position on the all-time try-scorers' list with 176, behind only Ken Irvine (220), Billy Slater (190) and Steve Menzies (180).

As well as winning premierships with St George Illawarra in 2010 and the Roosters in 2019, he played 18 Tests for Australia and 15 State of Origin games for NSW.

He is the only player to win man of the match in two World Club Challenges, in 2012 and 2019.

Morris said he was walking away with no regrets.

"Fifteen years ago, if you'd put a contract in front of me and said I was going to play 270 games, I was going to win a couple of premierships, I was going to play for my state and I was going to play for my country but it was going to end up on a night in Newcastle without my family and I was going to blow out my knee, I'd still say 'where do I sign?'" he said.

"I wouldn't change a thing. I've loved every minute of my career."

Roosters coach Trent Robinson declared Morris irreplaceable as a player but said he was already proving a great assistant coach.

"He's such a thoughtful guy that he's moved into it quite quickly. He's been at ease going in (to the coaches' box)," Robinson said.

"He's studied oppositions for a long time. That's why the nous that he's played with has been a big part of his game.

"The thing that made Brett a legend of our game, he knew his strengths and he would apply them to the game but he also knew what oppositions did and what he needed to do and he'd apply that.

"That understanding of the game has flowed onto passing it on to these guys pretty quickly over the last three games."

Hoping to remain at the Roosters beyond 2021, Morris said negotiations were already underway.

"As a player, I felt one of my strengths was being able to mentor some of the younger guys. I've been doing that for a long time now, and that knowledge in the game that I have trying to pass that on," he said.

"As a player, you always have to keep learning, keep adapting. Once you think you know it all, that's when you're in a lot of trouble."