A myriad of milestones
CADDO’S CORNER with NEIL CADIGAN
IT was a special moment for the family related CALEB BINGE and JAMES ROBERTS when they were on the field together against the Storm on Monday night. The boys, born in the same year of 1983 and second-cousins, shared a milestone night – Binge’s NRL debut and Roberts’ debut for the Titans.
They first played together with Ballina Seagulls when they were five and although James moved to Sydney at age 11, they have remained close and James would spend most Christmas school holidays at Ballina with the Binge family with a football not far away.
He has impressed many with his involvement and attitude since joining the club a couple of rounds into the season and his debut in club colours was certainly impressive, with a great solo try. Binge has stripped 13kg off his frame since being told by coach John Cartwright he had to change his body shape to make it in the NRL, through changing his eating habits and working hard on his fitness, and his first NRL appearance was richly deserved.
The pair live together, and Binge has been a wonderful support to Roberts since he arrived. They hope to play many more NRL games together.
DANIEL MORTIMER has fitted well into the halfback role at training and will go into tomorrow’s clash with the Dragons at starting halfback with two field sessions under his belt. He has impressed all at the club with his attitude and demeanour in his whirlwind few days since arriving on Tuesday night.
Just confirming what has appeared to be a bit of confusion about the Mortimer bloodlines. Daniel is the second youngest of five sons to Peter and Julie Mortimer, and was brought up on the family winery in Orange (a very good drop I might add!).
Of course Peter’s (who played for NSW) two brothers are Steve and Chris Mortimer who won premierships together in 1980, 84 and 85 at Canterbury; Steve and Chris also becoming internationals. Youngest brother Glenn also played first grade with Canterbury and Cronulla.
Daniel’s older brothers Tim (Parramatta/Wentworthville) and James (Manly) have played reserve grade/NSW Cup without making it to the NRL (also James has played in France) and still play the game while the younger, Robbie, is playing with Redcliffe in the Intrust Super Cup.
‘Mort’s has played in three grand finals in his senior career, winning two: with Parramatta in his rookie season of 2009, Newtown Jets (NSW Cup/Roosters reserve grade) in 2012 and with the Roosters last season. Let’s hope he brings some of that winning luck to the Titans.
MARK MINICHIELLO is just two games away from a massive milestone. ‘Mini’ needs just two matches to reach 250 NRL games which would put him and his older brother Anthony in the elite company as being part of only three brothers in the game’s history to have reached the quarter of a century mark.
They would join Steve and Chris Mortimer and Steve and Chris Mortimer (of course, uncles of Daniel).
A trivia question we’ll answer next week: which brothers have played the most aggregate first grade games between them in the game’s history?
GREG BIRD, last-second goal-kicking hero against the Storm in round five, will resume the kicking boots tomorrow after his troublesome heel stood up fine in a kick-off session with other contenders at today’s ‘captain’s run’ training session.
Kevin Gordon had the duties in the past two matches in the absence of regular kicker Aidan Sezer and Bird (who couldn’t kick against the Panthers). Gordon, James Roberts who was a regular kicker in under-20s and newcomer Daniel Mortimer, who has kicked at NRL and under-20s level, all stayed back to show coach John Cartwright their kicking skills but the Birdman nailed them best.
An interesting stat by the way is that Sezer last season landed more sideline conversions than anyone in the NRL – and kicked at an 85.2 per cent success rate.
It’s MATTHEW WHITE’S 100th appearance for the Titans tomorrow, a great achievement after missing all of 2014 with a knee injury and having to endure four seasons at the Knights, who he joined as a 19-year-old from Inverell, that produced only 28 NRL appearances.
The popular Whitey has retained his country drawl and the bush-toughness that goes with it, is a real unsung hero this season and his form has been consistent and solid enough to keep Ryan James and Mark Ioane, both genuine first graders, out of the side.
ANOTHER upcoming milestone belongs to co-skipper GREG BIRD. He’ll run out for the Dragons tomorrow in his 195th NRL game (89th with the Titans), so the double century is not far away. He also played 22 games for Les Catalans in the English Super League in 2009.