Axing to boost Mortimer, says Eels great - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Axing to boost Mortimer, says Eels great

By Ian McCullough 12/08/2010 07:35:26 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta great Brett Kenny has expressed surprise that Daniel Mortimer had not been dropped earlier this season.

The 21-year-old playmaker was axed from the Eels side to face Brisbane in a must-win match on Friday following a poor run of form in his second season.

The move comes less that 12 months after he played a starring role in his side's march to the grand final, with Anderson confirming on Thursday the 21-year-old will sit out the Suncorp Stadium encounter.

Anderson insisted on Thursday he had been rested, not dropped, with Mortimer not playing in the NSW Cup side either.

Kenny, who coaches the Eels' NSW Cup side Wentworthville, said he thought he may get the chance to work with Mortimer earlier this year, as he battled to recapture the form that made him one of the most exciting talents in the NRL.

"He has obviously struggled a bit this year which is to be expected," Kenny told AAP.

"I was thinking he may come to my NSW Cup side but that has not happened.

"Not that you want that to happen, but I have seen this sort of thing happen before when a kid comes into first grade and does really well but struggles in his second year.

"I think now it is a good time for him to rest, get his head right and keep him in a good frame of mind. He will want to play, but this is the best thing for him and he will bounce back a better player for it."

Kenny, who won four premierships as a five-eighth during the Eels' golden period in the mid 1980s, said Mortimer was doing nothing different to what he did last year, but teams had simply worked out how to stop him.

"I said last year he will be the Parramatta five-eighth for as long as he wants to be and I still think that," said Kenny of Mortimer who has flitted between the two playmaker roles at the club.

"However, last year he was able to come in and play his normal game and just worry about himself and he wouldn't be thinking about the opposition.

"But come 2010 they all know who Daniel Mortimer is. They know what he does, what foot he steps off, what shoulder he defends better with.

"The kid then goes out and does exactly what he did last year and when it doesn't work, he has to think about changing his game and that is something that only comes with experience."

Mortimer signed a two-year deal with the Eels on the eve of the new season after he rejected a move to Canterbury, where his father Peter and uncles Steve and Chris enjoyed illustrious careers.

The saga of where he would play and his meteoric rise from Toyota Cup player to a grand final in just five months increased his profile and Kenny is worried he may have been distracted.

"I have noticed he has been doing a little bit of work for Channel Nine and the Footy Show and that concerns me a little," he said.

"I have seen over the years young guys who get involved in the media while they are still playing and their performances start to drop off.

"It is very hard to do both and play well at that level, and I am hoping he is able to handle that and it won't affect him too much."

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