The long and rich history of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Mick Morgan

In the summer of 1978 Mick Morgan came home to Featherstone, the place where he was born and bred. He had previously played at Wakefield Trinity, enjoying a benefit year in 1976, before briefly appearing for York. Like many props, he began as a back-row forward and, after a long apprenticeship in Wakefield’s A team, he finally established himself as Trinity’s loose forward and captain under coach Peter Fox. The highlight of his representative career was being selected for England for the 1975 World Cup tournament alongside Nash, Thompson and Bridges of Featherstone. He also captained Yorkshire whilst at Wakefield.

Morgan arrived at Post Office Road as a ball-handling prop, and his distribution skills and subtle turn of pace were seen as the ideal counterpoint to the solid graft of Mick Gibbins. At 28, he was coming into his prime as a prop and Mick gave his hometown team three years of good service. His debut came in September 1978 against Whitehaven in a front row alongside Jeff Townsend and Gary Tingle. Within a month or two Rovers had signed Morgan’s future hooking partner Ray Handscombe from Wakefield and player-coach Terry Clawson had quit. 

Although Rovers were relegated at the end of that chaotic season, Morgan was at the forefront of Rovers’ drive back to the top flight under Paul Daley, managing 16 tries in our promotion year of 1979/80. Life back in the first division was tougher for Rovers but they survived relegation, although Morgan decided to leave the club in the summer of 1981. He had played 94 games for Featherstone, and notched a very healthy 30 tries. He then went to help out Allan Agar at newcomers Carlisle, where he was appointed assistant coach. That first year was a remarkable one, with Morgan smashing the league record for tries for a prop forward (25) and Carlisle won promotion at the first attempt. Those efforts, coupled with his fundraising prowess at the famous Rugby league Roadshows won Mick Morgan the 1982 Man Of Steel award. When Agar left Carlisle to come back to Featherstone, Morgan was appointed head coach, but it was a struggle to keep the fledgling team in the top flight. Carlisle were relegated and Morgan lost his job. He then went to Oldham and did a good job for them over three seasons, bringing to an end a 20 year career in the professional game. After finishing playing, he worked in the commercial and fundraising department at Castleford.

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