Mortimer happy to hook in for Titans
A frank and open discussion with coach Neil Henry during the pre-season convinced Daniel Mortimer that his best position for the Titans is as a hooker.
Now in his third year on the Gold Coast – and the final one of his current contract – Mortimer was originally recruited by former coach John Cartwright as a half but has played 15 of his past 19 games either at hooker or on the bench in a hooking role.
With four try assists in the opening five weeks – including two against the Broncos last Friday night – Mortimer has proven to be an effective attacking weapon for the Titans while his defence has also been sound.
While he still harbours a desire to play in the halves, the 26-year-old premiership winner with the Roosters said he embraced Henry's challenge to become one of the club's top two hookers in 2016.
"I talked to Neil late last year and we had a good chat about where he sees me as most likely to play and I said that wherever he sees me I want to hook in and give that a crack," Mortimer said ahead of Sunday's clash with the Sharks.
"He tends to see me more in the middle so I had that chat late last year and since then I've been training really hard and improving my game in that middle defence and attack at hooker.
"Obviously had a taste of it at the Roosters and I'm really enjoying it this year. I think we have a really good pack and it makes it that much nicer as a hooker playing behind a pack like ours at the moment.
"I love the club and I'd love to stay here and play hooker but that's to be seen. Off contract next year so I'll be looking at hooker or halves but at the moment I'm really enjoying hooker."
Back-rower Zeb Taia was the main beneficiary of Mortimer's smart work out of dummy-half in the second half against Brisbane last week, scoring two tries from Mortimer passes close to the line.
He said the energy Mortimer brings has been a big factor in sparking the Titans' attack to life in the second half comebacks they have staged in the majority of their games this season.
"He brings on a lot of energy and creates a few options for us at the hooker spot there," Taia said.
"He gets some good go-forward for us when we get quick play-the-balls and I just jump on the back of that.
"He was good on the weekend for me in particular, set me up for two tries.
"'Friendy' (Nathan Friend) does a really good job in the first half and then about 10 minutes in the second half and that's when they bring on 'Mortsy'.
"Mortsy has got good impact off the bench and he's been solid in defence as well. He's been good for us this year."
It's the defensive end where Mortimer has been investing much of his training time, asking the likes of Luke Douglas and Ryan James to charge at him in extra sessions so that he doesn't make any costly misses on game day.
In making 125 tackles in the first five games he has missed just six and said he added some extra weight in the off-season to try and cope with the physical demands placed on hookers.
"I put on a couple of kilos in the pre-season but it's pretty hard to maintain it during the season so that's the main focus at the moment," he said.
"It's pretty demanding in the middle, especially with the reduced interchanges. There are a lot of big boys [running at you] so a lot of technique stuff around tackling.
"I'm not the biggest fella but if you get those techniques right usually you can get some help from some of the other boys in the middle as well.
"They want me to bring energy to the team and it's been nice to be involved in a few tries but really holding that defence tight in the middle is a big focus for me.
"A lot of benches when they come on they lose a bit of momentum in that middle and I think myself and a few of the boys on the bench have done a good job of keeping that middle quite tight."