Mortimer's versatility pays off
Gold Coast Titans' Mr Fix It Daniel Mortimer believes the fact he's moved around so much to plug injury gaps at his club this year was likely a factor in his call-up for the PM's XIII side to play the Kumuls at Port Moresby this Saturday night.
Mortimer is one of two Titans in the 18-man squad along with breakout young playmaker Kane Elgey, who was selected at five-eighth by the Australian selectors in the annual fixture, which draws upon players from the eight non-finals sides and the two teams to bow out in the first week of finals.
With medium or long-term injuries to playmakers Aidan Sezer and Kane Elgey, as well as hookers Beau Falloon, Kierran Moseley and Matt Srama, Mortimer was shunted about the Titans pack throughout the year.
Mortimer started the season at halfback for three games, then wasn't used for five weeks after being displaced by young gun Elgey, returned via the interchange bench in round 9 before starting at hooker through the middle of the season. Injuries saw him return to halfback for two games before another three-game stint at hooker before finally rounding out his season with two games at five-eighth.
"It's been that kind of year for the Titans," Mortimer told NRL.com after the PM's XIII squad was announced.
"I had to jump all round the place. But it's been good and it's probably one of the reasons why I find myself in this team."
Mortimer was taken aback by his call up when he saw the calibre of players selected.
"When I first got the call I hadn't really looked into much of what it's about, but I looked at the team and it's a really solid team and to be playing with that kind of company is quite an honour," he said.
Mortimer's one clubmate in the side is Elgey, who has impressed with his composure since being thrown into the fray from Round 4.
"Kane Elgey's playing five-eighth and he's a great little talent. They spoke about this team being one they want to look at for the future and he's definitely one of those guys," Mortimer said.
"I had all pre-season with him and you see the talent he is. He's a very natural footy player and he's shown that he can mix it with the big boys."
There are a few other faces Mortimer is looking forward to combining or reuniting with over the course of the trip to Papua New Guinea.
"Jack Wighton's an Orange boy like myself, he was my little brother [Robbie]'s age and they played together so I kind of followed Jack's career and it will be cool to run out with him. There's some boys I played with quite a while ago – Tom Symonds and Jarrod Croker that I played with in younger ages but haven't for quite a while so that will be pretty cool as well."
Mortimer is looking forward to his first trip to PNG, which he expects to be an eye opener.
"It will be a different experience. When you finish the season you don't expect to be preparing for another game but it will be nice, we've all had two weeks off and it should be really interesting," he said.
"I've heard nothing but interesting stories about trips to PNG so I'm glad I'll get to do it myself. I've seen the footage before, fans mobbing the field after the game, it will be an eye opener but it's one of those things I'll get to say I've done."
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au