Daniel Mortimer has been granted an immediate release from the Roosters to join the Gold Coast Titans, where he will likely slot straight into a starting position following the probable season-ending injury to regular five eighth Adian Sezer.
We discussed the rumour a week ago here, and this writer had heard pretty strong reports he was off thanks to the good ground work from one Case Bunting Mahanga (@casebmahanga) — who is mates with someone close to Morts’ career management. But those rumours seemed off after a Rugby League Week article over the weekend quoted his manager as saying he was bound to stick it out at the club as no firm offers from other clubs had been receieved.
Well, it seems as though Case was on the money and that a firm offer was made since then, as Morts is off to Cavill Avenue.
According to the Roosters:
“It is with reluctance that the club grants this release, but we do so with the view that it is in the best interests of Daniel’s long-term playing future. Daniel has a lot to offer the NRL, but unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to secure more game time in our halves this year,” said Sydney Roosters Chief Operating Officer Football, Brian Canavan.
“While it’s sad to be leaving the Roosters, I’m looking forward to taking hold of this new opportunity,” said Mortimer. “I’m so grateful for my time here at the Roosters. I have so many great memories, especially last year. From Robbo and the coaching team, the players and all the staff, the Roosters have been like family and while I might be moving on, the club and everyone who’s a part of it will always be special to me.”
You may recall that Morts almost joined the Titans prior to 2013 but changed his mind after a chat with Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who ended up using him off the bench to spell Jake Friend.
But Mortimer has had a rough go of it this year. He’s struggled with a hamstring injury and also hasn’t been a regular when fit, appearing in just eight games this year and averaging just over 18 minutes a game when he did get a run off the bench. Robbo has instead gone with a bigger pack for the most part as the game has sped up significantly since rule changes came into effect over the offseason.
The Roosters have been using Mitch Aubusson as a makeshift hooker on occasion, while the Titans have been crying out for a five-eighth since Sezer went down. They’ve stumbled to five straight losses after beginning the season 6-2 and leading the competition briefly. They now sit 12th and have been desperate as well for a dude that can kick goals that aren’t only from directly in front.
The loss of Morts to the club will hurt, purely from a morale standpoint. He’s an exceptional trainer, well liked and he epitomised the sacrifice many players made last year — his turning down a starting spot at another club to play bit minutes off the bench was huge to the Roosters breaking an 11-year premiership drought.
But he’s earned the opportunity to marshall a club around after he was released from the Eels. He’s grown as a player, but was never going to get the opportunity to run the club full time with Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney in his way.