Daniel Mortimer

He went to the Roosters knowing that he would be behind Mitchell Pearce in the pecking order – but that has not stopped former Eel Daniel Mortimer from waiting for the one chance to prove his worth for 80 minutes.

With Mitchell Pearce playing at halfback for NSW in Wednesday’s Origin blockbuster, Mortimer will get the chance to start at halfback, and show Brian Smith and others that he can step up to the role, and assume the responsibility of the position.

With Pearce likely to remain in the Origin team, Mortimer will also get another crack at the position, when Pearce plays in Origin Two.

Having played three first-grade games this year already, Roosters coach Brian Smith has been preparing for Pearce’s Origin stint – playing Mortimer at halfback for feeder side Newtown.

“Smithy has had me concentrating on getting my hands on the ball a lot and running the team around the park,” Mortimer said yesterday.

“I’ve basically been getting ready for Sunday’s game for the last few weeks, and I feel I’ve been in good form for Newtown. I’ve been training with the Roosters for most of the week and going to Newtown for one training session before games, so I’ve kept familiar with both teams.

“I came to the Roosters knowing I was going to be used in a number of positions … So far, including in the trials, I’ve played five-eighth, halfback, hooker and fullback. My role, when I’m playing from the bench, is to cover some of the key positions in case of injury and also to be ready to come on and make an impact.

“Smithy says he doesn’t know yet what my role is going to be over time, and I understand that, but the thing I’m excited about this week is that I’ll be starting in a position I’m very familiar with, and hopefully getting 80 minutes. Pearcey will be back after Origin, but I’m hoping to state my case to get picked for more first-grade games, whether it’s coming of the bench or whatever.”

Smith was confident that Mortimer would be able to make the step-up from the NSW Cup to first-grade, in the halfback role.

“It’s a great opportunity for Daniel,” he said.

“He gets the chance to start a game in a position he’s very accustomed to, in the halves.”

By ricky

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