Josh Morris ready for Des Hasler's Brookvale Oval ambush for Sharks-Manly elimination final

Sharks centre Josh Morris fronted the media ahead of Cronulla's elimination final against Manly. Picture: John Veage
Sharks centre Josh Morris fronted the media ahead of Cronulla's elimination final against Manly. Picture: John Veage

If there is anyone at Cronulla who understands Des Hasler's ability to drag a desperate, backs to the wall performance out of a team it is Josh Morris.

The Sharks centre spent six of his 10 seasons at Canterbury under Hasler where the pair took the Bulldogs to the 2012 and 2014 grand finals. 2019 has been a fresh start for both men, with Morris joining Cronulla and Hasler returning to Manly after a year out of the game.

And both have had excellent years. Morris has been consistently among Cronulla's best, scoring 14 tries in 22 appearances to help the Sharks reach the finals for the fifth consecutive season.

Hasler has worked miracles at Manly. He led the Sea Eagles to the cusp of a top four finish before they lost their final two regular season games, battling a crippling injury toll to see Manly finish sixth with the same squad that finished second last in 2018.

Manly beat Cronulla without stars Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic at Shark Park earlier in the season but will need a heroic performance if their season is to survive another week with seven first graders potentially unavailable through injury or suspension on Saturday night.

Picture: John Veage

Picture: John Veage

Morris played down Cronulla's dismal record at Brookvale Oval, saying that a number of Sharks players had never even played at the ground wearing the black, white and blue.

But he did have a word of warning for his Sharks teammates. That no matter how decimated Manly appeared on paper, Hasler would have them firing to keep their season alive.

"I've been coached by Dessie for a long time. He extracts every bit of talent out of every player that he coaches," Morris said.

"It doesn't matter who they are. He gets them to do their job 100 per cent. So we're expecting a tough clash. He always likes the backs against the wall mentality and no doubt it's the same this week.

"I spent a fair bit of time under Dessie so whatever knowledge I can pass on to the boys throughout the week that's what I've been doing.

"They came here throughout the year and pulled our pants down. They had Cherry missing and Tom missing as well and they got the job done. So they won't be too worried about who we roll out. Dessie will have them prepared very well and they'll think they can get the job done."

Manly have named former Shark Tony Williams in their 21-man squad. Williams made just one NRL appearance for the Sharks in 2017 and has played only six first grade games over the last three seasons.

Williams was a teammate of Morris for five seasons at Belmore, with Morris adamant Cronulla will need to be wary should Hasler unleash the 'T-Rex'.

"Des got the best out of T-Rex. There's no doubt he can do the same if he plays on Saturday night," Morris said.

"If you give a bloke a shot they're going to grab it with both hands. I expect T-Rex to do the same. If he plays I expect him to have a big game.

"If he gets a wind up he's pretty hard to stop. So we've got to do a good job there. We probably need to lock up his offload, if he's out there he can get a late offload as well. It'll be interesting to see how he prepares this week and what the make up of their side will be. But if he is out there I'll enjoy coming up against him.

"You never know with Des. I guess we'll prepare as if anyone in their 21 [man squad] is going to come in. We've just got to do our homework on them and prepare as best we can."

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