There seems to have been little doubt in Daniel Mortimers mind about staying with the Parramatta Eels, with the talented young half today choosing to stay with the blue and golds for a further 2 years.
While strong interest from Canterbury was a small consideration, Mortimer and his father have suggested that the real focus has always been on Parramatta – as the link between the Mortimer name and the Bulldogs was 20 years ago and they’ve all moved on since then.
It’s believed privately that father Peter Mortimer wasn’t totally impressed by the past discipline record at the Bulldogs and felt more comfortable with the playing group and structure in place at the Eels that has allowed Daniel to prosper in the past 12 months.
The decision while a major boost for Parramatta would naturally be frustrating for the Bulldogs, given their lack of a future halves choice past Brett Kimmorley. While Noddy has settled in well and is performing beautifully, his partner in Ben Roberts has been solid without setting the world on fire in recent years.
The option of Mortimer for the Dogs would have been ideal, given he could have played either half or five-eighth years into the future.
For the Eels who had to cough up additional dollars for the rookie star, it means a certain salary cap reshuffle at years end – with veterans Nathan Cayless, Luke Burt and probably Eric Grothe coming under the spotlight to free up cash for future years as the club tries to hang on to a host of new stars.
The timing of the Mortimer signature is a good one, given it’s prior to the NRL 2010 season kick off on Friday Night – the Eels have been talked up plenty in the off-season and they need to deliver on expectations as they face last years Minor Premiers the St George Illawarrra Dragons at Parramatta Stadium in the season opener.