The faux pas by the Parramatta ballboy that caused such a drama in their game against Canterbury last round brought back memories for Titans halfback Daniel Mortimer who made the same error on the big stage – no less than State of Origin.
‘Morts’ attended a coaching camp at the NSWRL Academy where an incentive award for six attendees was being ball boys at the first Origin clash in Sydney.
It was the classic contest won by a left-footed field goal by Dragon Shaun Timmins two minutes and seven seconds into golden point extra-time after the scores were locked at 8-all. It was the first extra-time experience in Origin history.
The 15-year-old Mortimer, who was living in Orange, had earlier defied the rules and thrown the ball to Blues winger Luke Rooney to get a quick tap kick after a penalty kick had gone into touch and was admonished for not placing the ball on the touch line, and the restart had to be restarted with the right procedure.
“The other night brought back memories of that night,” smiled Mortimer. “I got into a bit of trouble so I felt for the Eels ballboy. But the biggest memory was Shaun Timmins kicking the field goal; it was one of the great Origin games and to be so close on the sideline was a massive thrill.”
MORTIMER runs out for his 100th NRL appearance on Sunday for the Titans which is a credit to the courageous little man in enduring the rigours of 100 games at 83kg in the front defensive line where he has often had to make 30 and sometimes 40 tackle but never shirk his task.
After playing a grand final in just his 16th NRL match at Parramatta in 2009 but being unwanted by new coach Steve Kearney two seasons later, he spent the end of 2012 in reserve grade with Newtown but recovered to play his third grand final in four seasons with the victorious Roosters last season.
“I’m proud of the milestone as it was looking a little shaky a couple of years ago but it has taken a lot of effort and I guess perseverance and I am very proud of the way I have kept in there,” he said.
This will be his ninth appearance for the Titans after 48 for the Eels and 43 for the Roosters.
LUKE Bailey (150 Titans matches) and Greg Bird (200 in the NRL) reach greater milestones against the Dragons.
Bird can add 23 club games for the Catalans Dragons in 2009 while Bailey has played 268 NRL games all up, meaning only Steve Price (313), Petero Civoniceva (309) and Brent Kite (304) have played more first grade games in the NRL level as regular front-rowers.
Here’s a bit of trivia surrounding the dual feats.
Bails debuted as a 20-year-old for the Dragons in 2000. The only remaining NRL player who has lasted longer in the game is Lote Tuqiri, who debuted a season earlier. Others still in the NRL who entered first grade later in 2000 are Jamie Lyon, Willie Mason, Anthony Minichiello, Braith Anasta and Pat Richards.
The only former Dragon teammate still at the club when Bailey wore the red vee for the last time in 2006 is Ben Creagh who is injured and will miss Sunday’s game.
Bailey joins good mate Mark Minichiello in the ‘150-club’; Mini runs out for the 170th time for the Titans. It will be at least 2016 before the next Titans player reaches the mark with next in line being William Zillman (119) and Kevin Gordon (112).
Bird mentioned this week that suspension, and a season in France, played a part in his reaching the 200-mark. For the record Birdy has been suspended six times for a total of 20 matches while Bails has been suspended three times but for only an aggregate four games.
MORE TRIVIA THIS WEEK: At what club did interim coach Neil Henry get his first full-time position as a coach?
TITANS V DRAGONS MATCH UP
HEAD TO HEAD: Dragons have won 9, Titans 4.
AT WIN JUBILEE: Titans have won the only two clashes.
TRIES IN 2014: Dragons 74, Titans 59.
TRIES CONCEDED: Dragons 79, Titans 76.
DRAGONS AT HOME IN 2014 (Kogarah and Wollongong): 4 wins, 3 losses.
TITANS AWAY: 7 wins, 3 losses.