Titans hooker Daniel Mortimer has not yet given up hope of getting back on the field in 2016 nor of continuing his NRL career on the Gold Coast.
Mortimer has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since Round 8 and has thus been unable to press his claims for a new contract with the Titans.
There has been speculation in recent weeks linking Mortimer with a move to the Wests Tigers or possibly England but the 27-year-old is determined to continue his career in the NRL for the time being.
A regular figure in the Titans team as they opened the season with three wins from their first four games, Mortimer suffered a hamstring tear on the final play of the first half in the Round 7 clash with the Dragons.
He was ruled out for a couple of weeks but as he took to the training field ahead of a return against the Roosters in Round 10 the hamstring gave way completely.
Stepping off his right foot during an opposed session the tendon came completely free of the bone requiring surgery three days later that has left him with a scar of some 15 centimetres down the back of his right leg.
"It all happened very quickly and was a bit of a shock and obviously quite disappointing," Mortimer told NRL.com.
"I went in there thinking it was keyhole [surgery] and came out with a scar that is a good 15 centimetres I reckon.
"They had to cut down to find where the tendon had come right down and basically grab it and attach it back at the top."
Mortimer only began running again two weeks ago and is realistic of his chances of forcing his way back into a Titans team pushing for a finals berth.
He has been forced to watch on as a fan for some four months and knows that while the deeper the team goes in the finals the more chance he is of playing, the more reluctant coach Neil Henry will be to change a winning formula.
"There's a little glimmer of hope and if the boys make the finals it will give me an extra chance to get in but at the same time everyone there is playing so well it will be hard to get a start," Mortimer said. "Being available will be a big goal for me anyway.
"The frustrating thing was that being off contract, it's the worst time to get an injury. I felt like I started the year really well this year so that was the most frustrating thing, not being able to control going into negotiations and stuff.
"Not playing is not a great way to start negotiations but that is all out of my control."
The Titans are yet to sign a back-up hooker for Nathan Peats for next season with Mortimer, Matt Srama and Kierran Moseley all off contract at the end of the season.
With Karl Lawton able to cover at hooker and Peats's ability to play big minutes the Titans may opt not to have a second full-time No.9 in their top squad of 25 but Mortimer hasn't given up hope that he can extend his career at the Titans into a fourth season.
"I really enjoy it up here, the team's going forward and I'd love to be a part of it," said Mortimer, who completed his PE Teaching degree with prac at Robina State School earlier this year.
"There are a lot of things to weigh up and not playing has been frustrating but I'd like to stay up here and if we can work something out then we can but my manager is also working on a few other things too.
"My priority right now is to get back on the park and then hopefully in a year or two be playing for a contract rather than sitting on the sidelines and hoping.
"It's funny after playing for so long, then you sit back and become a supporter of the team and it's been great to see the boys do so well this year.
"My goal is to get back on the field and if it is at the Titans I'll be happy."
This article first appeared on NRL.com