Sydney Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce told The Sun-Herald yesterday his club had contacted Mortimer’s manager, Steve Gillis, to inquire about the 22-year-old’s future after Eels coach Stephen Kearney told him he was not included in Parramatta’s plans for the future.
However, Noyce said that while the Roosters were interested in talking further, it was up to Mortimer and Parramatta to finalise a release two years before his $220,000-a-season contract was due to expire.
”We spoke to Daniel’s manager a couple of weeks ago but it is up to Daniel and the Parramatta club to work through a few [contractual] issues first,” Noyce said. ”That’s first base and if it happened we could talk after that.”
It’s understood that after Carney – who captured the public’s attention and the Dally M Medal after an outstanding 2010 season which led to a grand final appearance – was shown the door for disciplinary breaches, Smith asked people he considered trustworthy for their thoughts on Mortimer’s character and reliability.
”Everyone says he’s a good kid but … it is up to his management and Parramatta to work something out first,” Noyce said.
Mortimer told The Sun-Herald he intended to have a big off-season to come back better despite the bad luck of 2011.
Mortimer won the admiration of teammates when, despite knowing he was not wanted, he continued to train and remained behind after training to do one-on-one defensive drills with skipper Nathan Hindmarsh.
Although desperate to play first grade again, Mortimer chose to stay at Parramatta when the club in July granted him permission to seek another club. It was also late in the season and NRL clubs had already done most of their player recruiting for 2012. Mortimer ruled out playing in England because he wanted to prove himself in the NRL.