Mortimer ready for any role

By TONY WEBECK, nrl.com.au

Less than two weeks out from the start of the NRL season Daniel Mortimer remains unclear where he will slot into the Titans' 17 for Round 1 but says all that matters are the minutes he plays.

Mortimer made a mid-season switch from the high-flying Roosters in 2014 in pursuit of a regular starting position at halfback but says it was his lack of game-time at Bondi off the bench that was the real reason for the move.

Playing behind Jake Friend at the Roosters Mortimer was given precious few opportunities to work his way into the game and after making his Titans debut a week after leaving Sydney has played 28 games for Gold Coast in a range of positions.

Last year alone he played at five-eighth, halfback, hooker and was used off the bench and when used in the hooker role averaged 57.4 minutes in 10 games.

The arrival of Nathan Friend and subsequent appointment as co-captain makes it unlikely that Mortimer will start at hooker in the foreseeable future but he said as long as he is given a decent amount of game time he is happy to play whatever role the team requires.

"The main reason I left the Roosters was because I was playing so little minutes," Mortimer revealed. "Jake Friend is a big-minute player and I was probably playing an average of 20 minutes a game.

"Here I am getting a lot more minutes anyway. Usually the hookers play about half a game each and I am enjoying that role, even off the bench, a lot more here to be honest.

"I feel like I have more weight on the game when I play that bit longer so I am enjoying that and I'm not too fussed.

"I'd expect that if I was to be on the bench like last year that you'd play a bit longer than 20 minutes off the bench, pushing up even to 40 minutes each or something a little bit longer anyway.

"I love the game and just want to play as much as I can whether it is at hooker, in the halves or off the bench, that's fine with me."

A starting half in 48 of his first 49 games in the top grade, Mortimer became something of a 'super sub' for the Roosters during their premiership season in 2013 and has had to wear the tag ever since.

Now accepting of his position as a Mr Fix-It, the 26-year-old says the reduction in interchanges in 2016 will only serve to increase the influence of the smaller men in the game.

"There was a while there where it was getting quite dominated by the big fellas but smaller players have always had a huge role and that will never change," he said.

"The average size of players these days is just so much bigger. You look at wingers, you struggle to find a winger under 100kg these days so while size will continue to get bigger there is still a very important role for smaller fellas, especially when the middle gets tired and it looks like there could be even more of an opportunity this year.

"I'll always push for a starting spot, there's no doubt about it, whether it be hooker or half. In saying that I'm enjoying what I'm doing now and with the subs coming down it can be a really attractive position coming off that bench.

"When the forwards are a bit tired you can really get those opportunities that you might not get starting.

"I just have to make the most of what I'm doing and see where it goes but I've kind of stuck around this long and no doubt I can keep working hard and stick around longer."

This story first appeared on nrl.com.au.

Click PLAY to watch Morts' separate interview with the media.