FAR & WIDE: Number 40

Far & WideBy STEVE MASCORD
SYDNEY Roosters utility Daniel Mortimer has pulled out of the Welsh World Cup squad for a very straightforward reason – he doesn’t qualify.
“(My grandmother) always told me she was Welsh but she was born in England and moved there when she was six months old,” Mortimer tells Far & Wide.
“She was there until she was 20, she always considered herself Welsh but I couldn’t get the documentation to get it across the line, unfortunately.”
Details like that didn’t stop Chris Morley, brother of Adrian, from having a long and distinguished career with the Dragons. As Morely reveals in his biography, Chris merely told coaches he was Welsh, they believed him, and that was that!.
.
WE can reveal here that ABC radio has secured the rights to the semi-finals and final of the World Cup.
After negotiations with IMG, which owns the broadcast rights to the tournament, the national broadcaster agreed to cover ‘The Big Hit’ semi-final double-header at Wembley on November 23 and the final at Old Trafford a week later.
So far, no deal has been done regarding the pool matches.
.
MORE embarassment for the European game recently with Norway docked to European Shield points for fielding five ineligible players (good move, Daniel Mortimer!) against the Czech Republic and Ukraine.
Omar Baghdadi, Sean Casey, Timothy Hackney, Tim Rowan and Isaac Schmidt have been suspended until such time as they can prove they aren’t ring-ins. Norway have also pulled out of a planned trip to Canada.
The European Shield will be determined on September 28 when the Ukrainians play the Czechs.
.
PHILIPPINES captain Luke Srama – brother of Gold Coast hooker Matt – has opened a recruitment agency aiming to show players you can see the world playing rugby league.
Srama aims to put clubs in touch with players, and vice versa, through his facebook page Srama League Recruitment. He already has more than 1000 ‘likes’!
.
BUSY week this week with the Jacksonville Axemen announcing plans to explore the possibility of expanding the game in the south-eastern United States.
“One of the clear goals of SERL has always been to expand and grow the game of Rugby League in our region”, said Axemen founder Daryl ‘Spinner’ Howland.
“It is now time to see if we can help other cities start their own team to compete in the USA Rugby League. The Axemen and our minor league teams are proof that this game can be viable enough to be self supporting, providing the right people come together to form the core of the operation.
“This (September 8) meeting will be about sharing our knowledge, the good, bad and ugly of the past eight years, and to gauge the interest in the cities we have earmarked as potential expansion markets.

“In addition to Daytona, Orlando and Tampa, delegations from Atlanta and South Carolina will attend the meeting to share thoughts, ideas, potential challenges and opportunities in each city.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

Daniel Mortimer Almost Joined Gold Coast

Sydney Roosters - Daniel MortimerBy STEVE MASCORD

SYDNEY Roosters star Daniel Mortimer has revealed he has a contract with Gold Coast drawn up and ready to sign last October when new tricolours coach Trent Robinson stepped in to block the move.

Mortimer in May announced his re-signing until the end of 2015 but until Robinson returned from Catalan, he had his heart set on leaving.

It appears both clubs have benefited from the non-move with Aiden Sezer and Albert Kelly blooming into one of the NRL’s top halves pairings.

“I didn’t even think I’d be here, to be honest, 12 months ago,” Mortimer, 24, tells RLW.

“I was still contracted here for another year but I requested a release .

“I had the offer and the contract was all drawn up with the other club. It was the Titans. I was pretty close to signing with the Titans in October last year.

“But Robbo came in and it was before I’d even met him that I requested a release.

“He came in and he sat down with me – first time I met him – and he said ‘sorry mate, you’re not going anywhere.”

Mortimer’s bench role has been a feature of the Roosters’ rise to the top of the premiership heap a month out from the finals and his view of a his future at Bondi has been completely overhauled under Robinson.

“I’m enjoying my role and the boys are playing good footy and it’s nice to be in a winning team and a team with a good happy vibe around the club,” he said.

“I’m enjoying every single second of it.

“He wanted me to play here. He’s put some faith in me and I’ve played every game here. So while I was disappointed at the time … I knew he needed me here and I was pretty happy with that outcome.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

THE WRAP: NRL Round Six

NRL logoBy STEVE MASCORD
AS arguably the most important season ever of international rugby league prepares to kick off in Canberra, it can be revealed a member of one of Australia’s most famous footballing families is about to outdo his illustrious father and uncles.
Sydney Roosters star Daniel Mortimer has made himself available for Wales. If he plays in the tournament in Britain, Ireland and France at the end of the year, he’ll be the first member of his family to take part in a World Cup.
While having Peter Mortimer for a dad, plus Chris and Steve as uncles, may be daunting for a young rugby league player, Daniel will be able to boast has achieved something they didn’t.
The closest any of Canterbury’s favourite sons got to an RLWC was in 1986, when Chris played in a Test that doubled as a qualifier for the 1988 World Cup final, which was a stand-alone match.
“Daniel has mentioned something to me about playing for Wales,” Mortimer’s agent, Steve Gillis, tells NRL.com.
“I would say discussions are at an early stage. He has to make the team first.”
Gillis wasn’t sure how the former Parramatta five-eighth qualified for the Principality but it’s understood to be via the grandparent rule.
Friday’s Australia-New Zealand Test – it could be argued – does not technically mark the opening of rugby league’s 2013 international season. That happened way back on January 31 when Portugal beat Japan 26-20 at Sefton in Sydney’s west.
But Portugal and Japan are not involved in our 14th World Cup. Australia and New Zealand, of course, are and the road to Old Trafford on November 30 starts in amid the rugged Australian bushland of Bruce, in north-western Canberra, tomorrow.
This is without doubt the most extensive and high profile year international rugby league has ever had. The World Cup, the first major international sporting event in the UK after the Olympics, will be shown around the world as part of television deals negotiated by the International Management Group and around 40,000 tickets have already been sold for the final – even though no-one knows who’ll be in it.
In the meantime, England will play the Exiles – a team of Super League-based foreigners – for the third consecutive season, at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday June 14.
Closer to home, the NRL will help underwrite a Test between two foreign countries for the first time this Saturday night, when Tonga meets Samoa in a clash that gives us our first glimpse of the powerful squads these nations will take to Europe.
Before the World Cup kicks off in Cardiff on October 26, the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII will take on Papua New Guinea near Rabaul and there’ll be all manner of RLWC warm-up games, with Samoa to face up to the United States in Hawaii.
Australia coach Tim Sheens has ruled out a warm-up game but New Zealand’s Stephen Kearney is searching for an opponent in Europe.
Italy and the United States play their in their first World Cup after coming through the tough qualification process. Perhaps typically of our quarrelsome sport, both countries make their bows despite having rebel leagues on the domestic front.
Facing up to Mortimer in the tournament-opening double-header at Milennium Stadium will be the likes of Terry Campese, Anthony and Mark Minichiello, Craig Gower and Anthony Laffrranchi with the Italian Azurri.
In the main game, England can keep themselves away from Australia and New Zealand’s side of the draw by upsetting Tim Sheens’ men.

Read on at NRL.com