Around 25 years ago the name Mortimer would have struck fear into the hearts of most Parramatta Eels players and supporters, but it seems time can heal old wounds as a Mortimer pedigree is set to lineup for the Eels in 2009.
Daniel Mortimer, 19, is the son of former Bulldogs man Peter Mortimer and forms part of the Eels preliminary squad of 24 to face the Panthers in Griffiths for a pre-season trial.
Groomed as a pivot in his junior years, Mortimer has spent time recently at halfback as the Eels bring the rookie through the ranks with the hope he can potentially form a strong pairing with current half Brett Finch.
Since losing Tim Smith during 2008, the Eels have turned to ball playing Feleti Mateo to solve their halves problems and while the ability of Mateo has been a bonus for Parramatta, few doubt that Mateo is ideally suited to the backrow, where his freaky offloads can carve opponents to bits up the middle or on the fringe.
With Mortimer in the frame, coach Daniel Anderson is allowed more freedom to rearrange the team.
Mortimer, a standout during the 2008 junior season for the Eels, spent most of the time at halfback despite growing up as a natural five-eighth.
The 2007 Australian Schoolboy representative is expected to grow as a leader and could prove to be a lynchpin for Parramatta in 2009 should he warm to the top grade if given the opportunity.
Halves consistency has long been a problem for the Eels, it’s been widely reported since the depature of Peter Sterling at no.7 way back in the early 1990’s – Parramatta have yet to find any long term solution, using a host of playmakers with little success. The closest they’ve come in recent times is with Tim Smith, showing plenty of potential, Smith found the glare of the public eye both on and off the field too much to handle – choosing to shy away from the public life at a young age.
The Eels enter the 2009 NRL season with a host of veterans at the twilight of their careers, 10 year clubman such as Nathan Cayless, Nathan Hindmarsh, Daniel Wagon and Luke Burt know that their clocks are ticking and need all the stars to align for them to grasp their last chance at Premiership glory. Who knows, maybe the offspring of one the clubs greatest enemies could help push the Eels all the way.