PETER Mortimer is no stranger to grand final victories, but even the three-time premiership winning Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs great got a thrill out of watching the Sydney Roosters win Sunday’s NRL decider.
“It’s terrific,” Mortimer said, on hand to watch his son Daniel win his maiden first grade premiership in a 26-18 thriller over Manly.
“I’ve watched three grand finals this year. Tim lost his (with Orange Hawks) and James won his (with Belrose) but this one, in the big arena with 81,000 people there opposed to 650 at James’, there’s so much attention. It’s the pinnacle.”
The entire Mortimer clan was on hand to watch Daniel play in his second NRL grand final at ANZ Stadium.
In the first with the Parramatta Eels in 2009, Peter admits to his son being excited more than anything in the lead-up the big game, with many believing the Eels had already overachieved having come from eighth just to qualify.
But with the minor premiers in 2013, the excitement experienced four years ago was replaced by a steely resolve.
And it paid off, with the tri-colours coming from 10 points down to trump Manly 26-18 and record their first premiership triumph since 2002.
“You could see when they were down 18-8 it was going to take something special to get out of this one, but they believed in themselves,” Peter said.
“Watching Daniel after the game, he was excited to be there. You could see how tight the group was.
“(Roosters coach) Trent Robinson has this bunch feeding off each other. They’re all really good mates.
“They were the best side all year, but geez Manly have an experienced mob of players.”
Following the raucous celebrations on the field, the Roosters gathered in the ANZ change rooms like it was any regular season game.
They each took their seats and waited for coach Robinson to come into the room to address them.
Players’ families and friends on hand, Robinson entered alongside Roosters chairman Nick Politis.
“He summed it up in about 10 words,” Mortimer recalls.
“He just said ‘When I came here we talked about the club’s history. We just created history tonight’. Then Mortimer’s sparkling wine went everywhere.”