The loss of Daniel Mortimer to the Titans will hurt. He was a good clubman, well respected, a phenomenal trainer and the fans loved him — due in large part for his work ethic, which allowed him to shake off the ignominy of being released by the Parramatta Eels.
But his exit paves the way for the juniors to step it up and claim that vacant spot as the halves/hooker backup and Tyler Cornish looks the most likely to take the opportunity. The halfback — the younger brother of Canberra’s Mitch — has been rewarded with a two-year deal from next year.
According to the Roosters:
The Sydney Roosters have rewarded hard working NYC halfback Tyler Cornish with a two year NRL contract starting in 2015.
The new deal will see nineteen year-old Tyler continue his progress with the Roosters and is in keeping with the club’s policy of encouraging young and developing talent.
Currently in his second season as a member of the club’s NYC side, of which he is vice -captain, the youngster grew up idolising Roosters immortal Brad Fittler.
“Tyler’s development has been progressing nicely. Mature, composed and a hard worker on and off the field, Tyler is an instinctive ball player and he certainly exemplifies the sort of footballer that could make the successful transition to the NRL,” said Sydney Roosters Chief Operating Officer Football, Brian Canavan.
The Roosters also have Jackson Hastings waiting in the wings, and he has the ability to cover both halves spots as well as fullback and hooker. But Cornish looks to be the successor as Mitchell Pearce’s backup — at least for the next two years — after vice-captaining the NYC squad to sixth place so far this season with an identical win-loss record to the first grade squad (9-5).
He might also be used as a back-up hooker in the Mortimer mold, although coach Trent Robinson has been using Jake Friend for the 80 minutes or using Mitch Aubusson in the role as required to maintain size off the bench.
The future’s looking bright at the Roosters. They’ve given 18-year-old Willis “Beast Mode” Meehan a run, as well as Kane Evans and Nene Macdonald this year, while Hastings could be a vital cog for the club as early as next year. Meanwhile, Dylan Napa and Isaac Liu are close to mainstays in first grade now.
That, my friends, is called “development”.