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Three cheers for Dan Mortimer!

First of all, big congratulations to the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Sea Eagles. Yesterday’s Grand Final was one of the best I have seen in a long time. It was a tremendous game and both teams should be extremely proud of what they achieved this year.

Of course, special mention must go to the Sydney Roosters – the 2013 NRL Premiers. The Roosters have certainly been the best team all year and I was absolutely delighted to see Mini raise that cup over his head last night. Congratulations to everyone involved with the team this year (including their sensational fans). I hope you all enjoy the coming weeks – the celebrations are all well deserved.

As we keep our eye on the various news headlines developing at the moment in relation to the future of Sonny Bill Williams, players movements and of course, ASADA, I thought I would take this opportunity to make mention of a very special player.

Here at @LadiesWhoLeague we love nice guys. We are certainly of the view that the gentlemen we see representing all the NRL clubs are much more than just sporting heroes. They are role models, ambassadors for their teams and for the game they love so much.

We often hear such negative press, I think it’s always nice to focus on the individuals that make the game what it is.

As a Parramatta fan, it was absolutely delightful for me to see Daniel Mortimer win a Grand Final last night. While he no longer plays for my team, it isn’t rare for me to continue to love players that leave my club and find success elsewhere.

There may be some of you out there who have forgotten Dan Mortimer’s story. He comes from an amazing football pedigree. His father was Peter Mortimer who played for the Bankstown Bulldogs. His uncles, Steve and Chris Mortimer are also Bulldogs legends.

Morts as he is more affectionately known burst onto the scene in 2009 and was an integral part of the Parramatta Eels magic run to the Grand Final in 2009. During that year he showed incredible talent and playing ability well beyond his years. With the assistance of Jeff Robson, these two men were the halves combination which saw the Eels play a Grand Final in 2009.

Over the off season, there was a tremendous battle between the Eels and the Dogs to see where Mort’s future home would be. Dan wanted to sort our his future decided before the beginning of the 2010 season and had a tremendous decision to make between the club that gave him his chance and the club where his family were considered royalty.

Desperate to ensure that Morts didn’t go to their rivals, Eels fans demanded that the club resign Mortimer and that they did. Morts decided to remain an Eel.

Unfortunately from then on, things in Dan’s career did not run as smoothly. He was a player who was expected to shine in the 2010 season. It would be fair to say that in a very difficult season for the Eels, Dan was only one player who didn’t live up to expectations (his or the fans) for that year.

As a Parramatta fan I feel he was harshly criticised that year in a team which under performed across the board.

Following being dropped by Steve Kearney in 2011 to the Wentworthville Magpies, Dan decided in season 2011 that he would move to the Roosters. He was granted a release by the Eels after only having played 9 games for the Eels in top grade that season. I can imagine that this must have been a very difficult period for Mort.

He was hailed as the ‘next big thing’ by Eels fans and the coaching staff. He picked the Eels over the Dogs and then was dropped and left to play for Wentworthville, where it appeared like no performance would be good enough to see him play first grade again.

I was one fan who was very sorry to see Dan move on, but it was clear that he was not going to get his opportunity to play first grade for the Eels. I was pleased to see another club give him a chance.

Since moving to the Roosters, Dan has taken on a utility role. While he only played 8 first grade games in his first year at the Roosters, he did lead the Newtown Jets to a grand Final that year.

Flash forward to this year and Dan has played every game for the Roosters. It has been an absolute pleasure to see him enjoying his football again and growing as a player to become an integral part of the team that won the Grand Final yesterday.

By all accounts an extremely hard worker and dedicated, I was so pleased to see Dan Mortimer playing yesterday. It is vindication for the last couple of years and proves that with hard work, often comes great success.

I wish him all the best for next season – I imagine I am not the only Parramatta fan who will always have a soft spot for little Mort.




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