Mortimer no concern for Eels captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortimer no concern for Eels captain

By Steve Jancetic 25/07/2009 01:25:57 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta skipper Nathan Cayless has heard enough stories about the Mortimer clan to know the latest offshoot - rookie half Daniel Mortimer - will be up to anything the Bulldogs dish out on Saturday night.

What would once have seemed unimaginable to every member of the blue and white faithful will become reality when Mortimer trots out on ANZ Stadium to face the Dogs wearing the blue and gold of NRL arch rivals Parramatta.

Despite Mortimer doing his best to endear himself to Bulldogs fans when he spoke of his passion for the club his father and uncles represented with distinction, there's little doubt the sight of him in an Eels jumper will make their blood boil.

And if that isn't enough to make the 19-year-old a target, then his 79kg frame should suffice as an appropriate bullseye.

But if anyone thinks Mortimer may go looking for a bit of protection, they'd better think again.

"He's a kid who would walk over to training in the middle of winter at eight o'clock in the morning wearing a singlet, shorts and thongs ... he's a good tough kid who loves playing footy," Cayless said.

"You come from a family like he does, you don't see how he wouldn't be a tough kid.

"You hear stories about things his dad and his uncles did - I heard a story about Chris Mortimer and how he took some screws out of his thumb before a game and that sort of stuff."

Just seven games into his NRL career Daniel Mortimer hasn't had to pull any screws out just yet, but he has had an impact on turning around the Eels fortunes.

Parramatta remain a mathematical finals hope following Monday night's win over Melbourne, but more importantly, the late season form surge gives hope for next season.

With their win over the Storm following victories over Newcastle and Brisbane, the Eels have developed something of a giant-killer tag heading into their clash with the second-placed Bulldogs, a tag Cayless says comes with some disappointment.

"Sometimes when you look at how well we've played against those teams and then other teams that we've played who are a bit lower on the table, we don't play so well," Cayless said.

"It's probably an attitude thing that we have to sort out."

Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan claimed his side hadn't discussed the possibility of taking out the minor premiership despite trailing ladder leaders St George Illawarra by just two points with seven games remaining.

The focus, according to Ryan, remains the top four, which the Dogs should secure comfortably given they are four points ahead of fifth-placed Newcastle.

"In the top four is where you want to be and top two you get an added advantage," Ryan said.

"But there's plenty of teams riding our tails and we just need to not get too far ahead of ourselves."

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