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Holy Moses: the kid goes good

Matt Encarnacion, Western Sydney Correspondent NRL.com Mon, Jul 07, 2014 - 8:33 AM

Wests Tigers fullback Mitchell Moses showed his capabilities on the rugby league field despite his team going down to the Panthers Copyright: Grant Trouville.

With a wink of the eye and a nod of the head, Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks took the Panthers' line on midway through the first half of their clash at Leichhardt Oval and motioned for his teammate to back him up.

And that's exactly what the nephew of a Balmain legend did, displaying a marvellous turn of pace and then a no-look offload in a dazzling piece of nanosecond magic the gold and black faithful can get used to.

And though they were eventually towelled by Penrith 26-10, for one moment at least, it felt like the old days for the prodigious teenager.

"Yeah, I kind of seen him get the ball, he had a little look at me and I just knew he was saying it was on here," Moses said.

"So I just pushed up the middle and I just heard him call it so I chucked it out my backside. We know each other's game pretty well."

It was a glimpse of certainly bright days ahead for two young stars the club has mortgaged its future on. There's a reason why the joint venture side had initially struggled to keep highly coveted fullback James Tedesco, and some of it had to do with the money tied up in these two youngsters.
 
But for the first time, fans got to see why. Moses, the nephew of Tigers icon Ben Elias, was tested early and often by supreme kicker Jamie Soward. And more often than not, the Holy Cross product negotiated each one with flying colours, earning the praise of a coach who won premierships and represented his state NSW in his very position.
 
"I thought he did well. I'm pretty pleased with Mitchell. He made his debut and I think we'll see a bit more of him," predicted Tigers coach Mick Potter.
 
"They certainly did [test him]. I thought he showed his bravery and what potential he's got there. He's quick and he's elusive and playing the fullback role, you need to be brave. I think he's one of those players that can play that position, as well as others."

Moses' favoured position is standing alongside Brooks instead of being behind him, and even with current five-eighth Braith Anasta facing a long stint on the sidelines with a suspected torn bicep, Potter will refrain from putting him there.
 
For now.
 
"Blake Austin I think, also [can play five-eighth. He's probably the five-eighth option at this stage," he said.
 
"I'll see who's available for next week and we'll go from there. We won't have too much training given we've got a five day turnaround. We'll assess probably by Thursday we'll know. Tuesday we'll have a good idea."

For now, it's all about patience.  Yes, the 10th-placed Tigers have a realistic shot at September football. And yes, once you get there it's a whole new ball game.
 
But it's a whole new ball game played under a whole new environment for these Tigers youngsters. A lesson they learnt quite vividly on Sunday afternoon, failing to reach a kick on a number of sets at crucial junctures of the match.

"We just overplayed our hand a little bit when we hadn't earned the right. We come up with a couple of silly passes, a couple of unforced errors. And you don't want to do that against a team that's going pretty well. And I think in the first half [Penrith] set a nice platform for themselves and we couldn't get our second gear, I don't reckon," Potter said.
 
"In the second half [there were] three times we didn't get to our kick. Sometimes it's good to run the ball on the last play but certainly when you're going to get closed down, you gotta have a kick play there and we just weren't on our game and weren't thinking ahead about our option there."