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Adrian Morley autobiography: 2005 Grand Final a surreal game
Adrian Morley autobiography
My last club game in England had been for Leeds against Bradford and now, five years later, I was with Bradford, playing in a Grand Final against my old club.
To add even more spice to the occasion, it was Barrie McDermott’s last game for Leeds.
I started the game on the bench but within five minutes Paul Johnson was injured and I got the nod to go on.
A quarter of an hour later, Barrie Mac came off the bench. I drove the ball in and Barrie didn’t miss his chance – he whacked me, right across the face.
The next thing I knew, I was staring at the spotlights, dazed, wondering how exactly I’d ended up lying on the grass. Then I heard Iestyn’s (Harris) voice.
‘Moz, get up,’ he said. ‘It was Baz who did it – you’re going to get him in trouble’.
It was one of the most surreal instructions I’d ever had! There we were, in a Grand Final, and Iestyn was concerned about a mate on the other team being sent off.
Did he think I was acting like a footballer and staying down? I gingerly got to my feet before Deacs kicked the penalty.
Barrie stayed on the pitch, which I was glad about for two reasons – I didn’t want his career ending with a red card like Kearney’s, plus it gave me a chance to get my own back.
We were 8-4 up – Leon had cancelled out Danny McGuire’s opening try for Leeds – when I saw Barrie lining up, ready to take a carry.
He collected the ball and, with adrenaline pumping, I shot out of the line towards him, raising my elbow at the last minute.
It whistled past his face. Half-an-inch to the right and it could have cleaned him out.
But the ref didn’t miss what I’d tried to do and penalised me, giving Leeds the chance to close the margin to two points at half-time.
As I cooled down in the dressing room, I came to my senses. What the hell was I thinking? I’d just cost my side two points, trying to level a personal score.
I left it at that. Big Lesley Vainikolo thundered over for a try to put some distance between us in the second half – and when Deacs put us two scores ahead with a drop-goal, I knew the game was won.
In the dressing room, everyone was smiling and celebrating. Everyone but Stu Fielden, that is. He was sat in the corner, sulking.
‘What’s up Stu?’ I asked him. ‘I didn’t play well’.
That’s how meticulous he is! Once he’d had a few beers, he got into the party mood, like everyone else, though.
I had two invites that night – my brother Steve was in Prague for his stag party and Clare was at her sister’s wedding.
But I missed both to spend it with the Bradford boys, celebrating the win.
I’m glad I went to Bradford. I enjoyed my time there and I wouldn’t change anything.
But the Grand Final win didn’t mean as much to me as the other boys.
They’d worked all year and toiled hard for it. I hadn’t even suffered a defeat with them.