How Souths assistant Morris shaped Sharks

·2-min read

Cronulla's Will Kennedy has credited South Sydney assistant John Morris for shaping him into an NRL calibre fullback, as the sides prepare for Saturday's semi-final.

After he was appointed the Sharks' NRL head coach in 2019, Morris was forced to blood new talent.

And a year after his sacking, Morris' fingerprints are all over the roster that has Craig Fitzgibbon 80 minutes from a preliminary final in his first year as coach.

Of the Cronulla team that lined up against North Queensland in the first week of the finals, seven were given their NRL debuts and two more made their first club outings under Morris.

Morris was axed as Sharks coach last year but has since linked up with Jason Demetriou at Souths.

Kennedy, who was one of those seven given their first taste of NRL, remains grateful to his former coach.

"I was pretty tight with Johnny Morris, he's a good bloke," Kennedy told AAP.

"He taught me a lot of things coming up into first grade and he gave me my chance.

"I was mainly playing in the halves in SG Ball and he said, 'Why don't you give fullback a try?'

"He basically got me into playing fullback and taught me basic stuff like floating around the ruck."

Morris's intimate knowledge of the Sharks could prove valuable as both sides aim to keep their premiership hopes alive this weekend.

A preliminary final against Penrith awaits the winner of Saturday's game at Allianz Stadium.

But Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey says they have added strings to their bow over the last year with Fitzgibbon.

"I'm sure he (Morris) knows my game well and that will be the same with a lot of boys," Brailey said.

"I feel like I've added different things to my game this weekend and I'm sure we'll have a catch-up after the game.

"He gave me my first crack and coached me all from SG Ball up to first grade.

"He's definitely developed a lot of the players here who have shown they can make it at NRL. Some are here and others at different NRL clubs."