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Mortimer's memorable grand final ride

By kick off in last year's NRL grand final, Sydney Roosters utility Daniel Mortimer was tucking into a beer or two to celebrate a memorable second-tier premiership.
Mortimer's memorable grand final ride
by AAP

By Joe Barton and Rob Forsaith

SYDNEY, Oct 4 AAP - By kick off in last year's NRL grand final, Sydney Roosters utility Daniel Mortimer was tucking into a beer or two to celebrate a memorable second-tier premiership.

He'd captained the Newtown Jets to a 22-18 victory over Balmain, kicking three goals in the process, and was deep in celebrations with his teammates by the time Melbourne and Canterbury took the field for the main game.

It was the perfect end to a season that had frustrated the talented utility - and led to his asking incoming Roosters coach Trent Robinson for a release from his contract before the pair had even met.

That's what makes Sunday's decider against Manly so special for the 24-year-old, who also appeared on rugby league's biggest stage when Parramatta were beaten by Melbourne in 2009.

"Last year was up there with just how special 2009 was," Maloney explained about the joys of playing in a rugby league grand final.

"It doesn't matter what grade you're in, it's a special time of year.

"I've got four brothers and two of them made the grand final (in local competitions).

"You see how much it means for them. This is the same, but just on a bit bigger scale."

Despite the added prestige and exposure of an NRL decider, as opposed to playing in front of the diehard fans who turn up for the early games, Mortimer insists he is no more or less relaxed at the prospect of playing in front of 80,000.

"There's a lot bigger hype and interest by the public in this one," he said.

"(But) last year I was just as nervous, just as excited to be playing for the Jets in the big one.

"And we got the win. It was one of the best days of my life.

"If we do win on Sunday it will definitely be the defining moment and probably the happiest day of my life."

Which is a long way from where he expected to be this grand final day, which was living on the Gold Coast as a member of John Cartwright's Titans.

"I can't be thankful enough of Robbo for showing the faith in me and keeping me here," Mortimer said.

"That feeling, of a coaching wanting you, was something I hadn't had for a little while - since I'd left Parra.

"... My career has led me to here. I wouldn't change a thing."


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