Contract talks no distraction: Mortimer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Contract talks no distraction: Mortimer

By David Beniuk 22/02/2010 06:18:04 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta young gun Daniel Mortimer concedes his contract negotiations could drag on into the NRL season, but says they won't be a distraction.

Mortimer, who is off-contract after this season, is still awaiting a formal offer from Canterbury, who are keen to re-link his famous surname with the Bulldogs.

The 20-year-old playmaker had hoped to have his future secured before the March 12 kick-off to the season, but now says he won't be rushing a decision.

"I would like to (have it completed by round one), whether that will happen I'm not sure," Mortimer told reporters on Monday.

"I won't rush my decision, I'll know in the next few weeks what the right decision is and I'll make it but I'm not in any real rush at the moment.

"I'd be silly not to look at both offers so once I do I'll have a big decision to make."

Mortimer, who starred in his first NRL season as Parramatta made a late charge to the grand final, said he was still focused on football.

"My mind is definitely on footy and my manager's looking after that," he said.

"There is a little bit of pressure but it's all part of the game and I'm enjoying every second of it so it's a good position to be in."

Sporting 10 stitches after a head clash with Shane Shackleton during Saturday's trial against Penrith, he said he would remain committed to the blue and gold in 2010 regardless of his decision between the two Sydney clubs.

"I've been here since I was 16, I'm very committed to the club and if I did go I'd play out the year as best I could because I've still got to earn a jersey for the next year," he said.

Eels coach Daniel Anderson said the negotiations would not affect his side, but was less sure about his young half.

"We want him to stay, if he wants to stay then he will," Anderson said.

"I don't find it distracting. Hopefully he's comfortable with how it's going because obviously he's the bloke in the centre of the storm there, if there is one."

Anderson said it was too early to make any call on Mortimer's role during 2010 if he does decide to leave.

He said contract negotiations were a "necessary evil" in response to St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett's call for a deal-making window last week.

"It's difficult, I don't think it matters what timing you put on it," he said.

"When players are in their year off-contract they're distracted, they either play better or they play significantly worse, there's very little in between."

But new Eels prop Justin Poore, who was caught up in months of speculation at the Dragons last year, backed Bennett's call.

"I think there was stage there for about three months I was just getting hammered and people were saying I was disloyal ... it does affect you," he said.

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