THE ADVERTISER – CESSNOCK
Nathan Morris is a veteran of the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Northern NSW having spent over a decade and a half playing in the league. Although he’s spent time at multiple teams, Nathan has spent the large majority of his senior career as a Weston Bear and often as a pillar in their midfield, although he’s now converted himself into a solid defender. Nathan chatted to correspondent Quentin, to gather a special insight into his career so far for the first 1v1 Premier Profile!
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
My juniors started at the age of 6 where I played for the almighty Kurri Kurri Roosters. I progressed from there to the Newcastle Breakers youth system until the age of 15. I played in a few representative teams along the way in Hunter Hawks and Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) teams. I started senior football at Cessnock City Hornets where I played for a year in their U18’s back when they were in the first division, and was then poached by my father to join him at Weston in 2003. I had a year at Lambton last season but am now back playing for the Bears.
What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for? Why?
It would be very hard to pick between Nigel Boogaard and Anthony Surjan. I was lucky enough to play with both at Weston in 2004 and both were unique players in their own way. I’m yet to come across another player that could take the piss out of a striker like Surj could. He was the definition of cool, calm and collected. He was great to watch! Boogs was always destined to play at a higher level. He played in that comp as an 18-year-old and was just a boss! It was like he’d been there for 10 years already. He was very good on ball and was hard as nails. If he had a yard or two more pace, he could have gone anywhere in my opinion. I also liked playing with him because he was the only one I could compete with in the sprints!
Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?
When I was a midfielder, I’d say Troy Halpin. He had a tonne of skill and was always one step ahead of everybody else. Now as a defender, I’d say John Majurovski has always been a handful for me to mark (although I know a lot of people would say anyone who has a bit of pace would be a handful for me). He gets his body between you and the ball, he’s got skill, doesn’t mind a scrap and most importantly, he is a striker with some brains which is hard to come by (haha).
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing soccer/football?
Spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter. I also don’t mind sneaking off every now and then for 18 holes.
What do you do for work?
I’m an electrician and am currently working at Bulga Underground Mine. The Mine is actually closing mid this year so if anyone is looking to employ a semi-competent electrician give me a call! Haha
Made the move to Lambton a season ago, what was the reasoning behind that change?
It was rather funny how all that panned out. I was actually having a few mixed emotions the year before at Weston in regards to playing – I had been there a long time, as had a lot of the players there at the time, and I was just losing the love for the game. We played Lambton in a midweek game and afterwards Reece Tippett, who’s a good friend, rang me and asked if I was interested in a change and if I’d be interested in a chat with Jimmy Pascoe. I thought ‘bugger it’. A chat was set up and I liked what I heard and now, the rest is history. It was hard leaving, but they understood and I left on good terms. I don’t regret anything. I was a bit disappointed in how I played at Lambton as it took a while for me to adjust and a few injuries along the way made it even harder, but I met a lot of great people and finally won a Grand Final there, so I was very lucky and I am forever grateful to Lambton.
Why did you decide to move back to Weston and how are you enjoying your time there now?
I had originally planned on retiring. I won that illusive Grand Final and had to get my knee operated on in the off-season so I just felt like I’d had enough to be honest. I actually wanted to get into a bit of coaching and had agreed to coach the Weston U/15’s alongside my father. But Dad and my wife both kept in my ear about playing and eventually convinced me to go to a couple of sessions with 1st Grade to make sure I was ready to give it away (maybe they thought I’d make a terrible coach). So I went to a session, which at the time was very hard and forced me to nearly pull out multiple times, but once I got there, I really enjoyed it. There wasn’t the bulk of talent that Lambton possessed, but I saw a lot of what I saw when I first started at Weston – great camaraderie, terrific work ethic and tonnes of desire. I haven’t looked back since and am still loving it.
Weston is a team full of youthful players, is being a leader amongst such a young team and being in a position to help them grow something you relish?
Absolutely. As I said previously, from the get go I saw a lot in them and saw images of how it was like with myself and the other core members of Weston 10 years ago. We were lucky to have leaders like Chris Cousins that showed us the way and passed on his knowledge and experience. I’m hoping to do the same for these blokes.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
I’ve won a Grand Final with Lambton, lost three at Weston and won a few Premierships, but they are all memorable to me, even the bad ones. The one that will stick with me forever, was in 2010 when we won the Premiership. We were tipped at the start of year to come last and we won it on last game of year against Edgy who were coming second at home on Old Boys’ Day! It was huge and I still get tingles thinking about singing the song with all old boys on the sideline. If anyone could fill me in on what happened that night it would be much appreciated!
Most influential person in your career?
My father, no doubt. He’s been there through thick and thin and he’s always informed me of what I’m doing wrong, from when I was aged 6, up until last weekend’s game.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season?
To win as many games as we can. We will learn from the losses, but I want to help these young boys develop a winning mentality.
What’s your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress?
I want to play next to Boogs at the Newcastle Jets next year! Haha.
But seriously, my main focus is keeping fit and healthy and if I’m still enjoying it and work permits, I’ll continue help these young men at Weston progress, have fun and hopefully, enjoy some success along the way.