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National News

Morris sizes up Ponga threat in Origin I

When Josh Morris looks upfield next Wednesday night, he will savour the fact that he won't have Greg Inglis staring back at him.

Instead, the NSW centre will have to contend with shutting down Queensland superstar Kalyn Ponga.

Morris, 32, will end a three-year State of Origin exile during the series opener at Suncorp Stadium after answering an SOS from coach Brad Fittler.

Two years ago, Morris quietly resigned that his time in the Origin arena was over and retired from representative football.

But with incumbent right centre James Roberts playing in reserve grade and not considered, and back-ups Jack Bird and Joey Leilua out for the season, Fittler called on the Cronulla veteran to wear the No.4 jersey.

Fittler was at lengths to say he chose the 14-time Blues representative for his attack just as much as his defence.

However he has made special mention of the threat posed by Maroons fullback Ponga, who favours the left in attack.

He also praised the job Morris did in containing recently-retired champion Inglis when they waged head-to-head battles in the past.

"I won't be looking up and seeing GI anymore," Morris said.

"It's a little bit different. For so long, I put a fair bit of pressure on myself to try and stop that threat. I'm just going to go and enjoy it, it might be my last Origin."

The Blues' job of shutting down Queensland's potent left-side is made harder by the fact right-side winger Tom Trbjoevic is also out, and Morris has not played alongside his replacement Nick Cotric.

Morris was responsible for one of the most enduring images of the 2014 series when he went down with a knee injury late in game one.

As he was being treated by medical staff, the Maroons took off downfield from a quick restart and when Inglis caught the ball, he was threatening to crack open the NSW defence.

Morris picked himself up off the canvas and gave chase, cutting down Inglis from behind - a moment Fittler made special mention of when explaining his selection.

It was later revealed that Morris tore his posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and to this day he carries the scars.

"I don't have (a PCL) in either knee. It's one of those things you learn to adapt," Morris said.

"Me and (brother) Brett that one game, I did my PCL, he dislocated his shoulder and broke it.

"We both got off the canvas and did things that saved tries. We won that and we went on to Sydney and broke the drought. I definitely know what it takes to win up there."

© AAP 2019