Kimmorley needs big start to NRL season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kimmorley needs big start to NRL season

By David Beniuk 28/01/2010 04:25:54 PM Comments (0)

A contract extension for Canterbury halfback Brett Kimmorley will depend on his form and fitness over the first third of the NRL season.

Kimmorley recently said he wants to play for another three years, while the Bulldogs will offer the 33-year-old an off-field role if he doesn't play beyond 2010.

The decision will be made over the competition's opening weeks as the Dogs also circle Parramatta five-eighth Daniel Mortimer.

"We're going to give him the first third of the season, see how he goes, see how his body feels," Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg told AAP on Thursday.

"We'll stay in constant communication with him while at the same time looking around to see what's available because good halfbacks are a rare commodity.

"If Brett continues to play like he has been he may be here for quite a significant period of time."

The decision on Kimmorley will have major ramifications for forgotten Dogs half Ben Barba, also off-contract after the 2010 season.

He will also be given the opening rounds of the season to prove he deserves a place in the Kimmorley succession plan.

"Ben's another good example of probably the first third of the season, seeing how he performs," Greenberg said.

"He's got a big opportunity in front of him to cement a new contract and we'll judge players on giving them opportunities and Ben will get that opportunity in the first part of the year."

The 21-year-old, who scored 29 tries in 17 under-20s games in 2008, has had a strong pre-season after a checkered 2009.

Struggling to make first grade behind Kimmorley and Ben Roberts, Barba was also stood down after a fight with teammate Jamal Idris last March.

Greenberg said getting his off-field life sorted out was an important factor in Barba setting his sights on a big 2010.

"That's probably part of it and I think that happens for all young kids as they come through, just getting their lives cemented off the field," he said.

"What we've seen very clearly here is when your life is very clear and structured off the field you play better footy."

Canterbury's off-field turnaround took another step forward on Thursday when they announced a three-year $1 million sleeve sponsorship deal with 2009 NSW Family Business of the Year Doltone House.

"We're really proud of what we achieved last year but there's still another few steps to take, by no means are where we want to be," Greenberg said.

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