NORTH Queensland's grand final hero Michael Morgan says he struggles to call himself an Origin player, but he may yet have to step into a key role for the Maroons after star halfback Cooper Cronk broke down at training on the Gold Coast.
The Storm star was ferried from the team's makeshift football field at Camp Maroon at Sanctuary Cove on a golf buggy driven by Allan Langer after going down with an ankle injury early in Queensland's opposed training session.
Cronk was sent for scans, coach Kevin Walters admitting the playmaker was in doubt for Origin one in Sydney on Wednesday night.
"His ankle blew up like a balloon - we'll know more after the scans," Walters said.
While Cronk has been the team's lucky charm in recent years, the coach said Morgan had "slotted in beautifully" in Cronk's absence.
His combination with Cowboys halves partner Johnathan Thurston would be a big plus if Cronk failed to come up for the game.
Manly No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans would be a logical replacement as the utility player. He and teammate Brenton Lawrence were due to train with the team yesterday, but failed to make it to the Gold Coast after being stuck at Sydney airport because of high winds.
Only hours earlier, Morgan had admitted he had difficulty calling himself a member of Queensland's Origin 'family' after just three games in the Maroons jumper.
"When people say I am an Origin player, I see it more that I have played Origin and I have the chance to play again this year," said Morgan.
"I don't take anything for granted and think I am here for good now."
Despite advancing on 100 NRL games and featuring in last year's farewell series victory to Mal Meninga, which included a third game 52-6 demolition job on the Blues in game three, the Cowboys premiership player said he still felt he had to earn his stripes and the trust of most of his Queensland teammates.
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