Cronulla coach John Morris has spoken of a touching moment with his sister after naming his nephew Teig Wilton to make his NRL debut for the Sharks.
The 20-year-old second-rower grew up idolising his NRL star uncle, but it all came full circle earlier this week when Morris handed Wilton his debut for Saturday’s local derby with St George Illawarra at Kogarah.
Immediately, Wilton called his mum Vanessa, Morris’ sister, to tell her the good news.
“I was there when he rang his mum and had her on speaker – it was amazing,” Morris said.
“She’s a teacher at Narooma High School (on the NSW south coast), she was teaching a year 10 class and had to duck outside and take the call.
“She couldn’t speak; she was in tears.”
Morris said while proud of his nephew, there was no doubt he had earned his NRL call-up.
After bucking offers from rival clubs worth more money, the NSW under-20s’ skipper opted to stay at the Sharks and signed a three-year extension at the end of last season.
“He idolises a player like Wade Graham,” Morris said.
“When he was off contract last year, he had a lot of interest from other clubs and he felt this was the best place for him and I’m so glad he showed that loyalty because he had much bigger offers to go elsewhere.
“But he was passionate about playing NRL for the Sharks.
“I think he’s going to be a really good player for many years to come.”
With Briton Nikora suspended and Scott Sorensen injured, the opportunity was there for Wilton to slot into the side on the bench against the Dragons.