AAP Rugby

Morris not affected by Xerri ban timing

By AAP Newswire

Former Cronulla centre Josh Morris says he would not have stayed with the club even if the NRL had learned of Bronson Xerri's positive drug test before Morris was released to the Roosters in March.

Six months passed between Xerri's positive sample from November 25 and ASADA's announcement on Tuesday, when he was automatically provisionally suspended under the NRL's anti-doping laws.

The suspension caused the Sharks to make late positional changes and rue the release of former Test centre Morris to the NRL premiers two months' earlier.

However, on Sunday Morris said no matter the timing of Xerri's suspension, he would have sought a release to reunite with his brother Brett in Bondi.

"Probably not," Morris said when asked if he would still be at the Sharks if Xerri's test results had been released earlier.

"The opportunity all along to play alongside Brett was what had the most weight.

"To be able to potentially finish our careers together is something that we dreamed of when we first started playing.

"To get that opportunity and to be at a club like the Roosters, it was an easy decision and I'm just grateful to be here and playing alongside him again."

When Morris was released the Sharks had a wealth of talent at their disposal, with Xerri and Jesse Ramien ready to play in the centres, as well as former Test star Josh Dugan able to slot into the backline.

The 33-year-old Morris played 25 games for the Sharks before his final appearance for the club in round two, and he formed close friendships with the players and staff.

"I still see a couple of those boys on Tuesday nights at Tafe and they were rocked by the news (of Xerri's suspension)," Morris said.

"They're still my mates and I still care about the boys.

"It is disappointing with what happened with Bronson. There's obviously a process to take place but I'm really feeling for those boys as well, and for the fans.

"Jesse (Ramien) and Bronson were probably their long-term centres there, so there has been a spanner thrown in the works.

"We saw (Josh Dugan) get an opportunity and he came up with a double as well (in the Sharks' 28-16 defeat by the Tigers on Saturday).

"It's a big loss, Bronson, but they've just got to move on for the moment. They have a capable replacement there with Duges."