ONE FOR THE AGES: It would have been an interesting match up in the lineout between Jim Morrissey (left) and his son Jack who is playing for the Redmen this season. Photo: Gary Nichols
ONE FOR THE AGES: It would have been an interesting match up in the lineout between Jim Morrissey (left) and his son Jack who is playing for the Redmen this season. Photo: Gary Nichols

UNION JACK: Morrisey follows in father’s footsteps

JACK Morrissey never saw his dad play rugby.

In fact, he wasn’t even born when the old man featured in the Grafton Redmen 1988 premiership side.

But Jack said that was no problem.

“He’s told me so many stories of his playing days in detail so I feel like I was actually there,” Jack said.

“I did see him play Golden Oldies for the Bullrouts when I was about four. He likes to tell me about the old days and some of the players he played with like Tonko (Peter Tonkin).

“He remembers them (stories) like they were yesterday, but for the most part he gives me feedback on my own game so it’s nice to have a personal connection to bounce off.”

JUMPIN' JACK FLASH: Grafton Redmen loose-forward Jack Morrissey goes the aerial route against Casuarina in round one of the Coopers the 2020 Far North Coast Rugby Union competition. Photo: Gary Nichols
JUMPIN' JACK FLASH: Grafton Redmen loose-forward Jack Morrissey goes the aerial route against Casuarina in round one of the Coopers the 2020 Far North Coast Rugby Union competition. Photo: Gary Nichols

In his final year at university, Jack thought it was a perfect time to test his rugby skills in the Far North Coast Zone competition, and once again it was Grafton’s self-appointed recruitment officer who clinched the deal.

“I always had aspirations to play for Grafton and Ed McGrath twisted my arm to play,” Jack said.

“I’m enjoying my rugby and I think we’re playing a good brand of footy under Barney (Brett Graham) and Brent (Brent Berrick). They have put the right mechanisms in place and we are slowly gelling as a side, albeit in patches.”

The 24-year-old loose-forward admits having his dad, or the Silver Fox as he describes him, on the sideline provides some added pressure during home games.

“I do feel a bit of pressure to some extent,” he said. “It’s probably because I want to play well,” he said.

“You want to win the lineout or steal the opposition ball especially in front of the crowd and with dad looking on in the stands.”

Grafton are still searching for their first win of the season, and it won’t get any easier this weekend when they face-off against a red-hot Wollongbar Pioneers.

The reigning premiers remain undefeated and are fresh off a 64-10 demolition of Casino.

“I did play against Wollongbar when I played for Albies (St Albert’s College Armidale) in a trial game a couple of years ago,” Jack recalled.

“I’ve also heard the chat around training that they are well structured and a physical side.”

Grafton’s last game against the Pioneers was one they would rather forget, suffering a heavy defeat to the side widely tipped to win their sixth premiership on the trot.