Brett Morris

Captains pick: Jason Clark and Brett Morris will face off in Wollongong next month. Photo: Orlando Chiodo

Brett Morris barely gave a second thought to his spectacular slide into the Old Trafford advertising hoardings during Australia's World Cup final rout of New Zealand.

A plane skidding off a New York tarmac barely 24 hours before he was supposed to head home from a whirlwind honeymoon for pre-season training?

That's a different matter.

''There was a plane that slid off the runway the day before we were supposed to leave,'' Morris said at Wednesday's Charity Shield launch in Wollongong. ''We thought we were going to get stuck there, but we got out just in time to make it back for training.''

And, after a week of being thrown into the pre-season furnace straight from an ice-capped Big Apple, you would forgive the Dragons winger for wanting to bask in a little more off-season glow. The 27-year-old won a World Cup with the Kangaroos before rushing home to wed longtime partner Kate Milliken before the end of last year.

It put an exclamation on what he described as a ''very long year'' in St George Illawarra, NSW and Australian colours.

But don't expect Morris to be shying away from the chance to feature in the Auckland Nines next month, barely a month after returning to the paddock.

''I've been waiting for one of these things my whole career,'' he joked.

''The less people on the field for us small guys, the better.''

The Dragons have announced WIN Stadium as the venue for the Charity Shield clash against Souths on February 22. ''Hopefully we can get a packed house. I know it's only a trial game, but everyone misses their footy and, come February, hopefully we can get a sell-out,'' Morris said