THE 2018 season of Group Seven product Jayden Morgan keeps going from strength to strength, after he was this week involved in the NSW Blues under 20s camp in the lead up to their State of Origin game.
The 20-year-old was rewarded with this honour after continued strong performances for both the St Geortge Illawarra Dragons Intrust Super Premiership and Jersey Flegg sides.
“I feel like I’ve really learnt a lot from my footy last year, with not having the best year on the field,” Morgan said,
“Ahead of this season, my coach Snoopy [Wayne Collins] sat down with me and we had a chat on some areas I could improve on.
“I feel like I’ve improved more than last year but I still have a lot of learning to do and I’m so keen to learn more about the game.”
Thankfully for the Albion Park-Oak Flats junior, he wasn’t the only one who had taken notice of his improvements.
“After our game on Saturday against the Panthers, I was just at home that night and my two best mates from the Dragons, Reece Robson and Matty Johns, both sent me a text asking for my number – I thought they were playing a prank on me
“Then I get a phone call minutes later from Allan Thompson [NSW team manager] calling me into camp first thing on Sunday morning.
“I was over the moon and rang everyone close to me straight away – I honestly couldn’t believe it.”
Morgan then joined up with the NSW Bues under 20 side as 18th man, during their training camp at Coogee.
“The camp was unreal, just the way you’re treated in camp and how professional it really is – it’s so good,” he said.
“It’s definitely one of the best weeks of my life and I’ve made life time mates for sure.
“Some days in camp were long, like the travels and training days, but honestly, it was the best time I’ve had for sure.”
Despite not taking the field in the Blues 30-12 loss to Queensland, Morgan believes the camp will help him take his game to the next level.
“I’ve really learnt a lot from the coaches and staff – Matt King [NSW under 20s coach] is one of the best blokes I have met by far,” he said.
“He really showed us the game at another level, how to prepare for it and what playing for NSW really means.
“One of the biggest things I’ve probably learnt from camp is breathing – we had a breathing session everyday before we went anywhere like before training or even just for coffee with the boys and it actually helps a lot and it’s something I will use in the future for sure.
“I’ve definitely had a different look at the game and it’s a good thing for me.
“I’m going to go back to the Dragons with a more professional attitude and try to lead by example but still have the same hunger to crack the NRL if not even more.”
The former Oak Flats High School student is now hungrier than ever to get a sky blue jersey of his own.
“This 100 per cent makes me even hungrier to work hard for a sky blue jersey,” he said.
“Hopefully if I get the chance to put that on again, it will be with the big boys hopefully that dream comes true again but I’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of me.”
Morgan’s representative ambitions aren’t limited to a sky blue jersey either
“I’ve still got some footy to play this year and I can’t wait to rip in,” he said.
“I’d love to get a crack to put the green and gold jumper on at the end of the year – that’s a big goal of mine but it’s not going to come easy.
“I just want to be playing my best and good consistent footy for club and hopefully things plan out.”
While Morgan has put in years of hard work to get to this point, he also knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without his support network.
“First, I want to thank my mum – she’s brought my sisters and I up and she has done such an amazing job.
“I am so grateful for her and would not be here today if it wasn’t for her.
“As well as her, my nan and pop, my aunty, my mum’s partner Darrell Rosser, Fiona and Gary Crane and coach Wayne Collins have all helped in numerous ways that I’m extremely appreciative of.”