Mortimer an Eel until at least 2012 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortimer an Eel until at least 2012

08/03/2010 07:25:08 PM Comments (0)

They re-adopted their traditional name and put the real Bulldog back on their jersey, but reborn Canterbury-Bankstown have fallen just short of bringing the famous Mortimer name back home.

Declaring himself an "Eels boy", rising star Daniel Mortimer re-signed with Parramatta on Monday until at least the end of 2012.

In signing a reported $500,000 deal for 2011-12, with an option for the following year, the 20-year-old knocked back a huge offer from the Canterbury club his father Peter and uncles Steve and Chris played for in a golden era for the Bulldogs.

And in an ironic twist for two playmakers who will come up against each other in the NRL's season opener on Friday night, St George Illawarra's Jamie Soward also signed a three-year contract extension, keeping him at the Dragons until the end of 2013.

Mortimer sank Canterbury supporters' hearts when asked whether the family connection had played on his mind as he weighed his two offers in his hometown of Wagga over the weekend.

"Not really," he said. "I grew up supporting the Bulldogs but I came up through the Eels.

"They've been a great club. They have nurtured me right through to first grade. So I am an Eels boy."

He said the family had kept their distance as he made his own decision.

"My dad is my greatest influence on me but they didn't help too much," he said.

"They said it was my decision so whoever I spoke to put it straight back on me."

Steve Mortimer, the great Bulldogs halfback of the 1980s, backed his nephew's decision.

"One thing about the Mortimers is that you're loyal, if people look after you we absolutely feel loyalty to them, be it Canterbury back in my day or the Eels now in Daniel's day," he told AAP.

"Who knows? After 2012 there may be an opportunity for him to come back to the Dogs.

"I'm 100 per cent behind whatever he's sorted out."

Canterbury coach Kevin Moore, the son of the late Bulldogs patriarch Peter "Bullfrog" Moore, was disappointed but also praised Mortimer's club loyalty.

"That's disappointing, we and certainly myself personally have a really high regard for Daniel as a footballer first and foremost and he's a terrific young kid," Moore said.

"He's a very loyal young kid and I think there's a credit for that and there probably should be a little more of it in rugby league.

"But from our point of view, we move on."

Mortimer said his breakthrough season last year, when he starred as the Eels surged to the grand final, had been a big factor in the decision.

"It's going to be very hard to leave a club when you have a year like that," he said.

"The last 12 months have been a dream and that's another reason why I have decided to stay.

"It would have been silly to leave with the team making the grand final last year."

But he said the Bulldogs had come close to luring his name back to Belmore.

"The Bulldogs did everything right in negotiations," he said.

"They did make it a hard decision but I've made my decision now and I'm glad to be focused on this club for the next three years."

Soward, the former journeyman who turned his career around under Wayne Bennett last year after being signed from the Roosters in 2007, said he was delighted with his new deal.

"I wanted to stay at the Dragons and I am very happy that I will be here for at least the next three seasons," he said.

Meanwhile, Wests Tigers have confirmed dual international Lote Tuqiri will arrive from the UK on Wednesday morning before facing the media at lunch time.

Coach Tim Sheens has said he will name the club's big signing for Monday night's opening round clash with Manly at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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