WIGAN, AAP - Coach Trent Robinson has saluted Brett Morris after his dream Sydney Roosters debut in the 20-8 World Club Challenge win over Wigan.
Man of the match Morris bagged a first-half hat-trick of tries at DW Stadium to lay the foundations for the Roosters' fourth world club crown, equalling the record held by Wigan.
The 32-year-old former NSW and Australia winger showed he could prove the bargain buy of the NRL season after salary cap issues forced him out of Canterbury at the end of last season.
Named at centre for the first time in his long career due to the unavailability of star Latrell Mitchell, he showed all of his class and finishing power for the NRL premiers on a night to forget for opposite number Oliver Gildart.
"It was the first time he has played centre in his career and he goes and does that," said Robinson.
"There was some really good work done to get him in those positions but he had to fight hard to get the ball down.
"It was a great debut in Roosters colours," added Robinson, who said the veteran's strong pre-season work shone through.
"He walked in with the 18 and 19 year olds in November and you could see that from the start and the physicality he played with."
Morris opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he somehow got the ball down, crossed again four minutes later and then barged over for his hat-trick just before halftime.
"He's hard to handle out of the back field, good footwork and a finisher," Robinson said.
"I don't know why but I was surprised at how sharp he was. He's fast and has genuine pace.
"Very rarely do you highlight effort in tries as a character trait.
"You highlight it in cover defence or pressure. But the character trait he showed in not giving up with the ball that's high end."
Roosters winger Daniel Tupou then added some extra gloss to the scoreline with a try in the final seconds.
With the Roosters' NRL opener against South Sydney still a month away, Robinson said he was satisfied with the fitness levels of his players.
"I'm really happy with where we're at," he said.
"I saw a lot of guys who were breathing heavy and that is because Wigan played with their tenacity."
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