SYDNEY Roosters replacement hooker Daniel Mortimer believes the heartbreak of losing a grand final in 2009 will serve him well as he prepares for the NRL decider against Manly.
The Orange CYMS junior started at five-eighth for the Parramatta Eels in the 2009 grand final against Melbourne, eventually going down 23-16 to the Storm.
Now at a different club and enjoying a starkly different role to the one that shot him to stardom with the Eels, Mortimer is hoping to bring up his maiden first grade title against a semi-final hardened Sea Eagles on Sunday.
“They say you have to lose one before you win one. I definitely hope that’s the case,” Mortimer said.
“I’m just lucky to be in a position to win one.”
Having skippered the Newtown Jets to the NSW Cup premiership last season, Mortimer made the step up to play in every game for the Roosters this season, featuring off the bench.
In his 26 games, he has scored five tries - including a double in a 56-14 thrashing of the Wests Tigers.
Completing just the one error this season, Mortimer has provided rookie Roosters coach Trent Robinson with the perfect foil for starting rake Jake Friend and, with halves James Maloney and Mitch Pearce on Origin duty, starred at pivot in a 20-18 win over the Bulldogs in round 15.
No stranger to grand finals, Mortimer was hoping to draw on that experience to help the 2013 minor premiers come up trumps in the biggest game of the year.
“I think all grand finals, it doesn’t matter what grade it is, is a huge occasion,” Mortimer said.
“I came up to watch the grand final in Orange with my brothers and the city was great. Any grand final is a big event.”
The Roosters qualified for Sunday’s game courtesy of a comprehensive 40-14 thumping of the Newcastle Knights on Saturday night.
Manly knocked off the South Sydney Rabbitohs 30-20 to book a decider berth.
A grand finalist right throughout his junior career as well as with the Eels and Newtown, Mortimer admits experience hasn’t stopped the nerves from kicking in.
“I think they started straight after the game on Saturday,” he said.
“There’s going to be a few sleepless nights ahead, I’ve just got to try and not play the game too early in my head.”