An email conversation with Adrian Morley: 'I've had the 'Judas' stuff; that was just my family'

Home from Oz but away from Salford; Living with high tackles and low blows; Digging Dylan on the road to training
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The Independent Online

You will become a father for the first time in a couple of weeks. Will parenthood change you? I think it changes everyone but it won't affect my rugby career, apart from a few sleepless nights. I feel ready for the extra responsibility. I'm 29 now and I look at it as the next step towards being a proper grown-up.

What's it like living in England after six years in Sydney? I'm really enjoying it. People keep saying, "You must miss Australia". I do, but I'm also excited to be back in the UK. I was ready for a change and I always wanted to play in Super League again.

There must be things you miss, though. I miss the weather and the fact that where I lived there was a beach just down the end of the road. But I love living in England as well. Besides, I've kept my place in Australia and I've got Australian residency, so I've got the option of going back when my playing days are over.

Did you have a warm welcome back in your home town of Salford when you played in a pre-season friendly there for Warrington? I had all the "Judas" stuff, and that was just my family! Apart from that it was just typical rugby league fans' stuff and I didn't expect anything less from them.

Is there part of you that would have liked to have been playing for Salford? I would have liked to represent my home town as a professional. I played for Salford Schoolboys, so it's a small regret that I never played for the club. I did speak to Salford before I came back to Britain, but the talks didn't go on for too long. I think the new stadium will be great for the club and the city of Salford in general. It could have had a bearing on my decision, but it's probably 18 months or more down the line.

You have signed a four-year contract at Warrington. The way you play the game, have you got four seasons left in you? I think I have, but four years will probably do me. I believe I've got that much in me because I look after myself a lot better now. I've got the squad No 11 shirt at Warrington. I've been pretty much a full-time prop over the last two years but I still feel I could play second row. There's probably less impact on the body there, but I'll play anywhere the coach thinks I can do a job.

You were suspended 11 times during your stint in Australia. Are you going to run into similar problems here? I'm confident I won't have anywhere near the same trouble here. It was a very different system in Australia and one that didn't favour me. If you've got similar charges you get points loaded on you. Nine of mine were for careless high tackles and if I'd had a clean record I probably wouldn't even have got a one-game ban. If I put one foot over the mark I was in trouble, because I was a marked man from day one. Over here I start with a clean record.

You seem to have stayed on good terms with opponents you have knocked about. Any exceptions to that? I like to think I get on with all my opponents. Just because you are enemies on the field doesn't mean you have to be afterwards. It can be a bit awkward at times, though. When I got sent off in the first minute playing for Great Britain against Australia (in 2003), I went to see some of the Aussies at the end of the series and Robbie Kearns - the player I'd caught - was there. I didn't know how he'd be but he was fine. You give a bit and you take a bit and I'd like to think I'm seen by my opponents as a good bloke. You get called a thug by opposing fans, of course, but the press have always been kind and treated me as a good bloke.

Was that sending off the most embarrassing moment in your career, or perhaps your drink-drive arrest during the 2003 Don't Drink-Drive Test Series? The sending off was the most embarrassing. It was heart-breaking and I've still got to live with it, because everyone asks me about it all the time. The drink-driving was embarrassing for different reasons, but I learned my lesson both times.

How is your guitar playing progressing? Not too well. In 2005 I broke my index finger and I was just getting that right when I bust my wrist, so I haven't played properly for over a year. I'm confident that when my guitar arrives from Sydney I'll get back into it again. I'm at the right club, because Martin Gleeson is a guitar genius and a big Dylan fan like me. He'll be able to teach me a few licks. There's about seven of us play and our coach, Paul Cullen, is learning as well.

Is Bob Dylan still the main man as far as you're concerned, and what do you think of the new album? Without a doubt and he always will be. I've got the new album and really like it, but I've only played it a few times. It takes me 25 minutes to drive to Warrington, so you can get most of a CD played going there and back. It's not in my top three Dylan albums yet. That's still Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde and Time Out of Mind. That's my 1-2-3.

What is it about British teams in Australia recently? Is it any consolation that the rugby league side in the Tri-Nations wasn't beaten quite as badly as the cricket team? It still hurts terribly when England don't do as well as you would like them to in any sport. I was quite glad that I was leaving Australia after the second Test, because I didn't get all the abuse I would have done if I'd still been around. Australia have built up this mystique as such a big sporting nation. I'm not a psychologist, but there's some mental edge that they seem to have.

Do you expect to be playing with Andrew Johns next season? I hope so. It would be great to play with a guy with his talent and skill. I know he was very impressed with Warrington when he was there before. He doesn't have a bad word to say about the place. I think he'd like to come back and that would be great for Warrington.

Are there British opponents you are particularly looking forward to locking horns with again? There will be six forwards trying to knock my block off every week. I'm looking forward to facing some of the younger players. They will be trying to make a name for themselves when they play against me. I don't blame them; if I was in their position I'd be trying to do the same. When I went to Australia, it was "Pommy this" and "Pommy that", so I'm used to being a target.

As a proud Salfordian, are you pleased that the BBC is transferring much of its operation to the city? Is it? That's got to be a good thing. We might get some more rugby league on. After all, it's the main sport in Salford.

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