Daniel Mortimer has officially notified Parramatta he will see out the rest of his contract with the Eels.
Mortimer, who has been playing for Parramatta Eels feeder club Wentworthville in the NSW Cup, was on July 22 given permission by Parramatta management to search for other playing opportunities.
He did not ask for an actual release and remains contracted to the Eels until the end of 2013 on a deal understood to be worth $220,000 annually.
But the 22-year-old’s manager, Steve Gillis, said yesterday that because it was late in the season and NRL clubs had already done the majority of their player recruiting for next year, there were no opportunities available.
The apparent delay in Parramatta signing representative centre Willie Tonga, who was recently granted a release from the final year of his contract with North Queensland, is believed to be due to the club’s need to make room for him under the salary cap. Tonga would be expected to command a contract worth at least $350,000 annually.
It is understood that if Mortimer were to stay, it wouldn’t stop Parramatta signing Tonga, but the contract may have to be ”back-ended”, meaning whatever Tonga’s deal averaged out at over three years, he would receive less in the first year and more in the remaining years. Back-ending contracts is generally not a situation clubs prefer.
There has been talk the Eels may try to offload another player to help make room for Tonga, but there are no signs of anyone leaving.