We caught up with former North Queensland Toyota Cowboys forward Glenn Morrison to talk about his early career, joining the Cowboys, and life in the UK.
Morrison, 44, made his debut with the Balmain Tigers in 1996, before playing for the North Sydney Bears, North Queensland Cowboys, Parramatta Eels, Bradford Bulls, and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The Terrigal Sharks junior made 324 first grade appearances in the NRL and English Super League, representing NSW Country on four occasions and the Exiles once.
Q&A: Glenn Morrison (Cowboy #110)
You were born in Sydney played your junior football with the Terrigal Sharks. How old were you when you started playing and what got you interested in the sport?
I was 13 when I first started playing. I was really into athletics and surf lifesaving before that. My Dad played for the Balmain Tigers and I always wanted to play footy.
You made your first-grade debut for the Balmain Tigers as a 19-year-old. How did you find out you’d be making your debut, and what do you remember about the game?
I had played in the trial games and went okay so I was hoping to get picked for Round 1. I was working as a police officer at the time and was on nightshift the night before. There was a big multi-car accident and I ended up redirecting traffic in the rain and then had to drive straight to the SFS to play the Roosters and mark Brad Fittler. It wasn’t the easiest of debuts.
After a two-year stint with the North Sydney Bears, you signed with the Cowboys ahead of the 2000 season. What made you want to sign with the club?
Tim Sheens rang me up and sold it to me. He was wanting to build a new culture and get the club on the rise and I wanted to be a part of that.
You played some of the best football of your career at the Cowboys, being selected for the Country Origin side on three occasions while at the club. Why do you think you played such good football for the Cowboys?
I was just enjoying myself. I was only 22/23 so I was still fairly young but I felt that I had developed my game at that stage. We had such a great group of players at the club and we all just ripped in and enjoyed doing so. It was a great time in my life living in Townsville.
You were a part of the club’s first-ever finals appearance in 2004. What do you remember about that season?
The vibe of the whole town was amazing. We had hundreds of people lining the streets and filling the airport whenever we left to play and returned. The whole town felt how good the club was going. I broke my back at the back end of the year and missed 12 weeks, but was lucky enough to return for the finals. We were very unlucky not to beat the Roosters also.
After a two-year stint with Parramatta, you finished off your career in England, playing for Bradford and Wakefield. How did you enjoy your time in the Super League?
I loved it over in the UK. The way I played rugby league suited the game over here and I was lucky enough to get ‘Player of the Year’ at the Bulls and both years at Wakefield and was named in the Super League Dream Team. I was then selected in the International Exiles team that played England and we got the victory. That was one of my career highlights.
You started your coaching career shortly with the Dewsbury Rams shortly after you retired. How did that opportunity come about?
I was an assistant coach at Wakefield the year before and head coach of the under 20s. We had a pretty successful season and then the Rams job came up. I was head of rugby league and the head coach. It was a great apprenticeship. You have to do everything from recruitment and contract negotiations to kit supply. It was great. I had four and a half good years there. We just missed out on the Grand Final by one game on three occasions. I then spoke to Tim Sheens again and moved to Hull KR where he was coaching to do some defence and wrestle coaching.
What are you doing with yourself now?
After the season with Hull KR I did 12 months in Dubai setting up an elite schools sports program for a company over there and in India. It was something different and then it led to me becoming the Head of Athletics at Bradford Grammar School, as well as the rugby union coach there. It’s a world away from the professional game, but I am really enjoying myself. It’s the first time since I left school that I am not living contract to contract so I am able to get some stability with my life and family.