Mortimer deserves to stay, says Sezer
Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer has leapt to the defence of halves partner Daniel Mortimer in the wake of his two crucial kicks out on the full in the second half against the Knights on Sunday.
With his team leading 18-14 Mortimer attempted a 40/20 kick in the 69th minute that sailed over the sideline by a metre or so but his second effort three minutes later put his side under further defensive pressure which they were ultimately unable to withstand.
On the back of a stunning try-saving tackle by Josh Hoffman on a runaway Joseph Leilua in the 72nd minute, Mortimer took the ball on halfway on the Titans right edge and hit what could only be described as a shank off his right boot, the ball barely making it to the 40-metre line before going into touch on the full.
They were significant momentum shifts as the game hung in the balance but not sufficient to cost him his place in the team against the Sharks on Saturday according to Sezer.
"I think it's too early to start talking about spots there," said Sezer. "'Mortsy' obviously had a few kicks that weren't up to his standard but I'm sure he'll turn it around.
"He's one of the hardest workers in the club and he'll turn it around for next week so it would be good to see him next week in that No.7."
Putting further pressure on Mortimer's place in the team is the form of 2014 under-20s player of the year Kane Elgey in the early rounds of the Intrust Super Cup.
In atrocious conditions on Sunday afternoon Elgey was named Man of the Match in Tweed Heads' 34-10 win over Norths but Sezer believes he and Mortimer deserve more time to foster their combination in the coming weeks.
"It's still working, as the whole team is, under a new coach and new process but it's no excuse," Sezer said of their combination. "We've had the whole pre-season together and we need to get some wins on the board.
"We've put ourselves in two situations at home to get the win and we haven't done so so we've got to play for the full 80 [minutes]."
Titans coach Neil Henry is understandably excited about Elgey's potential but also defended the performance of Mortimer, highlighting his defensive efforts in which he made 35 tackles and missed just one.
Mortimer also played a key role in setting up Sezer's second try that put the Titans in front although Henry stopped just short of guaranteeing his place in the team for next week.
"We've got to learn to be better at ending our sets and getting good field position. We grafted to good positions a couple of times and put a couple out on the full, that's in the mix as another reason why we didn't mount any pressure," Henry said.
"That falls on the shoulders of our kickers and that's part of the puzzle.
"I saw bits of [the Tweed] game before I came and [Elgey] was pretty good but 'Morts' has made some plays out there too.
"Stopping people on the tryline with his 82-kilo frame and getting in front of people, so there's parts of his game that I really like.
"We'll have a look but whether Kane is ready to step up I don't know but he is a player of the future."