Morris Twins Face Off On Mother's Day
Story by Matt Encarnacion
To get an accurate picture on how far women have come in rugby league, you need look no further than the mother of twins Brett and Josh Morris.
Karen Chatfield will arrive at ANZ Stadium on Mother's Day one third blue and white, one third red and white – and one third pink.
As in, the kind of pink that symbolises the entire reason we're celebrating the woman's role in rugby league for a whole month in 2014, kicking off with the Dragons-Bulldogs clash this Sunday.
"Look, as a teenager, I knew absolutely nothing about rugby league. My father's English and, when he was a young man, he had a cadetship with Derby County," she told NRL.com.
"He played soccer, so I didn't know a damn thing about football."
And that was when she met Steve Morris, a man who knew a thing or two about this great game, having scored 102 tries in 180 games for the Red V.
Chatfield went on to marry the legendary Dragon, describing herself as a "rugby league wife". But it didn't exactly take her long to shed that title – and it's not just because she later separated from the man known as 'Slippery' Morris.
"Well, if you don't learn about it, you're going to get left out and left behind. So I think all those years of watching it, sitting there from this high, to the whole gamut of experience, you learn it," she said.
"You learn it as you go along – you know what's important. You can predict what's going to happen. You see it unfold in front of your eyes."
That's why she's not afraid to call it as she sees it – and it's the reason why her two boys don't hesitate in asking, either.
"Even as a league wife, that's what I would do after every game. It was always 'How did you think I went?' with him. And I'd be honest," she said.
"So it was just the transition from that, to having my own kids. And the boys would say to me, 'How did I go?'
"It wasn't about, 'Oh you played crap'. It was 'Oh, you did this really well, but you could improve your game if you had of done this'.
"But now as professional footballers, they seem to expect it from me. I am honest with them and I'm probably the person that's the most honest with them."
Like a time back when Brett wasn't the best winger in his team, let alone in the game.
"There was a period there when he'd just stand there, walking on the wing," she shared at the Women in League launch in Homebush on Monday.
"And I said, 'You know what, you're going to have to come up with something, because you're looking pretty pedestrian out there. You're going to have find another string to your bow, and do something otherwise you're going to disappear into the ether. Look at Jason Nightingale – dummy half, he looks for the ball. Stop waiting for something to happen and go and make it happen.'
"So he started doing that, and I think he's just gone from strength to strength confidence-wise. He backs himself now, and he's willing to take those risks. He's got huge commitment, and I really think he's risen to the very top of his game. He's really at his peak, and he just has that comfortable confidence in himself."
And as for Josh, the son who just ran out alongside Brett for the Kangaroos last Friday night?
"I think Josh is almost there," she said bluntly. "Confidence-wise, he still needs to back himself and believe in himself."