Canterbury-Bankstown legend Steve Mortimer remembers the important moments of his rugby league career like they were yesterday.
He could close his eyes and vividly picture leading New South Wales out onto the Sydney Cricket Ground ahead of what was a momentous series win in 1985, or any one of his three try-saving tackles as his beloved Bulldogs snapped their 38-year premiership drought with an 18-4 win over Eastern Suburbs in 1980.
The 272-game star half also remembers the importance of mateship on and off the field, and the establishment of a certain Foundation that now leads the way in assisting with player wellbeing.
“Being a part of a group of guys caring about footy goes right back to my playing days,” Mortimer said.
“I’m all for the Men of League Foundation and everything they do.
“I remember when Ron Coote and those boys established the Foundation (in 2002). We had a terrific response.
“Growing up in Wagga Wagga my brothers and I used to watch Graeme Langlands, Johnny Raper and Keith Barnes running around on the black and white TV.
“It just made you want to be a part of rugby league and it’s been great watching it grow.
Mortimer is the latest high-profile personality to sign on as a Foundation member for 2019, throwing his support behind everything that the Men of League Foundation stands for and reserving special praise for those that volunteer their time to help.
“I’m not one of those guys doing all the wellbeing things but I get out to all the functions I can, and it makes you feel like you’re making a difference,” he said.
The 62-year-old has watched on fondly as the Foundation has developed and is proud of the work that it’s many volunteers and staff are able to achieve for the benefit of the rugby league community.
“It’s definitely been great watching them expand – they’re getting smarter now with how they approach things,” Mortimer said.
“I’m very happy to be behind this cause.”