Moseley told to follow Segeyaro's lead
Titans hooker Kierran Moseley has been instructed to follow the lead of his former Panthers teammate James Segeyaro and test the Penrith ruck defence when the two teams meet at Carrington Park in Bathurst on Saturday afternoon.
Having spent the past two years playing under Segeyaro at the Panthers, Moseley earned an unexpected Round 1 starting spot on the back of some sparkling form in pre-season trials in Toowoomba and Cairns.
Against the Cowboys in particular in Cairns the Titans attack looked its best playing off the back of surges by Moseley in the middle of the ruck, but the 20-year-old ran just three times for nine metres in 45 minutes against the Tigers last week.
Although a different style of player to the explosive Segeyaro, Gold Coast coach Neil Henry said it was important that Moseley feel confident enough to play what he sees.
"The All Stars game and the trial in Cairns [he ran] so maybe it's that Round 1, home crowd that he was a little bit quiet in the running department," Henry said of Moseley's debut for the club.
"Certainly Terry Matterson has encouraged him to take those opportunities as the attacking coach to say, 'When you see that, let's go' and let's react to him, because we didn't really support him around the ruck well enough either.
"I think it's confidence. It's forwards calling the ball and going with your senior men and you just do what you do without maybe saying, 'I should have taken the line on there.' He'll build into the confidence about ignoring the call to create something going the other way but that's going to take some time."
Titans captain Nate Myles praised Moseley's talk around the ruck area and after a first-up task against Robbie Farah, conceded that it doesn't get any easier against Segeyaro.
Segeyaro scored a sensational solo try, laid one on himself, made seven tackle busts, five offloads and ran for a total of 131 metres in a complete 80-minute performance that was arguably the best individual display of Round 1.
With such a strong collection of hookers right throughout the competition Myles said that Moseley won't find an easy opponent in the NRL but backed the youngster to develop his game as the season progresses.
"[Penrith] have got a fantastic mix of players and I think it all starts from their nine, Segeyaro. He was sharp on the weekend and definitely a lot of stuff came off him," Myles said.
"He's the form hooker of the comp the last year or two, James, and I think for Kierran he was fantastic on the weekend.
"He's going to get more of a feel this weekend of what NRL's like and I think he's up to it. He's a fantastic kid, fantastic football player and for us guys out there we need to make sure we do the best we can to make him more comfortable.
"Cheekiness is one thing I do like about him but he's got a good footy brain. I don't think he's showing any of us what he is capable of football-wise. He's a good thinker and hopefully we can see more of that soon."
For Henry putting Moseley out against Segeyaro could bring on a case of deja vu after both players left North Queensland while Henry was coach of the Cowboys.
Having played as Aaron Payne's understudy at Townsville for two seasons where he started in just three of 33 games for the Cowboys, Segeyaro was lured to Penrith by Panthers CEO Phil Gould and was last year named the Dally M Hooker of the Year.
"You don't always retain the players that you want to retain and they go on to bigger and better things and he's done that," Henry said.
"He got his first opportunity to play first grade up there and replacing 'Payney' became a problem for the club.
"He was a bit erratic in the early part of his career with his defence but he's certainly developed and Ivan (Cleary, Panthers coach) has done a great job. He has matured and certainly turned into a complete 80-minute player."
After an eye-catching performance for the Indigenous All Stars Andrew Johns said in commentary that Moseley reminded him of Cameron Smith and Henry is of the opinion that is the style of player he will develop into rather than a Segeyaro clone.
"Kierran's got a good feel for the game as a young player. He's got a sense of tempo around the ruck which can hold up markers a little bit so he can be creative there," Henry said.
"It makes up for a bit of explosiveness off the mark but he can actually hold the ball up and play with the ball in two hands which is what Robbie Farah does, using a bit of guile, and Cameron Smith as well.
"The timing of when [Smith] runs is the important thing and I think Kierran's going to develop into that type of player."