Management revamp lets Sharks players get on with the job

Renewed focus: Sharks hooker John Morris. Photo: Brendan EspositoA revised management structure is allowing Sharks players to focus on football even while the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation hangs over their heads, says veteran hooker John Morris.
Nanjing Night Net

In a rare interview with one of the players who was at the club in the period in 2011 that ASADA has highlighted, Morris said the players had learnt to live with the investigations as the club celebrated back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

“We are managing things a bit better these days, which is allowing us to focus a bit more on footy and not off-field stuff,” Morris said.

“When you’re losing, you’re thinking about your game, your errors and what you need to do better.

“It’s quite challenging to focus 100 per cent on footy when you have all that off-field stuff. A lot of people have other stuff outside footy and you’ve just got to balance that.”

Earlier this year, meetings and concerns about their immediate future meant players had limited time on the training paddock and their performances suffered. The Sharks slumped to four consecutive losses.

Plans implemented by new bosses Steve Noyce and Bruno Cullen have eased the burden on players and the usual training expectations are now being met.

“As it’s gone on, Steve Noyce has provided a strong leadership role and Bruno Cullen has put a few things in place for the players,” Morris said. “You sort of get used to it and tend to move on.

“Nothing has changed too much footy wise; we’re still training hard and doing our best.

“Our training has picked up a lot and the quality has been better. That’s carried over to performance on the field.”

As a senior player, Morris, along with Sharks skipper Paul Gallen, has become a central figure in the playing group. Morris said he did not know when investigations into the club would be resolved, despite ASADA cancelling interviews with players and officials.

“It wasn’t a burden but it was something new that everyone was going through,” Morris said. “As a senior player, it was my role to provide a bit of leadership. Through my experience, I am one of four or five senior players. We can’t worry about things out of our hands.”

On Sunday the Sharks will host a Raiders side who embarrassed Cronulla, eliminating them from last year’s finals series with a 34-16 win. Morris will again start at hooker and Isaac De Gois will come off the bench. Having inked a one-year contract extension for this season, Morris, who turns 33 this year, wants to play on.

“The Raiders have touched us up a couple of times,” Morris said. “We were in that finals game for a long period of time and they made us look silly at the end. We saved our worst performance of the year for the end, which was disappointing.”

“I’m in good shape and look after myself well. I want to be part of the team for as long as I can.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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