Martin Blake July 04, 2012
Child's play: Steve Morris conducts a clinic at Yarra Bend Park yesterday. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
STEVE Morris would have seen himself on television more in the past few days than in the rest of his life. That's the rub if you are a professional footballer (finally), and you are involved in the incident of the week, in this case the Taylor Walker spear tackle in Adelaide last Saturday afternoon.
Morris, Richmond's tough first-year defender, was surprised he did not receive a free kick for Walker's jarring tackle that sent him head-first into the AAMI Park turf early in the final quarter. In fact, he was pinged for holding the ball, a decision the AFL has admitted was incorrect.
In any case, Morris is moving on. ''I'm not going to comment on something like that, but I just was a little bit surprised that I didn't get the free kick at the time,'' he said yesterday. ''But we all make mistakes and you've got to move on to next week now.''
The television footage shows an angry Morris quickly gathering himself to remonstrate with Walker immediately after the tackle. But the ire towards the Crows' forward has subsided. ''You've got a split-second to make your decision and sometimes you don't get it quite right. I understand that. Taylor came up to me after the game and asked if I was OK and I appreciate that. Life goes on. There's certainly no grudge held on my part.''
Morris had neck soreness on Sunday and sought attention from the club doctor. As match review panel chairman Mark Fraser has acknowledged, that medical report from Richmond, and the fact Morris was sent for a CT scan, hurt Walker's case. The MRP upgraded the level of impact to medium; Walker copped a three-match holiday and some time to ponder his method of tackling.
Morris expects to play against Melbourne on Saturday. ''I pulled up a little bit sore. I spoke to the doctor after the game and again on Monday. I went in for some scans yesterday but I've been given the all clear. I'll hopefully train on Thursday, and be right to play on Saturday.''
Morris is one of the feel-good stories of the season. This time last year he was playing for West Adelaide in the SANFL, albeit playing exceptionally well. But having had a knee reconstruction a year earlier he would have felt a long way from achieving his dream of playing AFL football.
Yesterday, the Tigers announced that they had extended his current two-year contract by a year, to the end of 2014. The son of former Richmond and Essendon player Kevin Morris, he has been quickly signed by the Tigers after making an immediate impact with his kamikaze attack on the ball.
Morris said the success of other state league players such as Nick Lower (North Melbourne), Nick Duigan (Carlton) and Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn) had encouraged him. ''Seeing guys … playing really good roles for those footy clubs that took the punt on them, it gave me a little bit of hope that perhaps there was an opportunity for me if I really knuckled down. I did that and thankfully Richmond gave me the opportunity.''
The fadeout in Adelaide hurt but Richmond has put the defeat behind it. ''We need to make sure we get back to our basics, winning the contested footy,'' said Morris.