Mortimer ready to face half truths
It's a cruel irony that ahead of a game against the best half in the NRL and on the back of one of his most polished performances at five-eighth Daniel Mortimer has to come to grips with the fact that his future at the Titans lies elsewhere.
Mortimer will once again partner Kane Elgey in the Gold Coast halves against Johnathan Thurston's Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night but if all goes according to coach Neil Henry's plan it may be the last time he does so.
Last week against the Dragons Mortimer's often maligned kicking game was much more polished and his two try assists took his season tally to nine, level with Aidan Sezer and just one behind Elgey's team high of 10.
With the club signing Knights half Tyrone Roberts and exciting Broncos product Ashley Taylor for 2016 and beyond, Mortimer has dropped a couple of places on the playmaking pecking order but Henry has liked what he has seen from the 26-year-old at hooker.
The Titans have also signed Warriors hooker Nathan Friend to return to the club and partner Kierran Moseley in the No.9 rotation but it is clear Mortimer has shown enough this season and in the past at the Eels and Roosters for Henry to consider him a genuine option at hooker in future.
"With the three halves he knows that his future is playing in that nine for most of the time but also being a valuable utility off the bench because he can play nine or seven or six," said Henry.
"Those types of things make him valuable whereas Kierran is a straight-out hooker and 'Friendy' is the same.
"He's comfortable in either role but we like him as a nine. He defends well in the middle and plays forward out of dummy-half but he's equally at home playing in the halves."
Mortimer has started seven games in the halves and eight at hooker this season but two weeks ago against the Raiders summed up the split personality he has had to assume for much of the year.
Having been named at halfback alongside Josh Hoffman, Mortimer was shifted to hooker due to the return of Kane Elgey but then after four minutes went to five-eighth when Greg Bird tore his quadriceps in taking the kick-off.
It's enough to confuse anyone and Mortimer concedes that whether it's in the halves or at hooker, he would like to lock down a particular position in his third year on the Gold Coast.
"I'd like to probably try and stay in a position, whether it be hooker or half, but time will tell," Mortimer said. "I'm sure I'll have that chat [with Neil Henry] during the pre-season and wherever I am I'll try to play my butt off and do the best I can.
"I've enjoyed the hooker role there and I feel like I am playing probably some of my best footy there but every time I get my head around playing hooker something happens in the halves.
"I'm just happy to play my role at the moment. It's been one of those years where it's hard to get settled with the injuries and everyone is having to bounce around and play a few positions.
"Hopefully next year I can cement a spot and stay with it."