Moses: I can play a lot better than that
Plenty of good judges consider last Saturday's exciting 34-26 win over the Warriors the best game yet of young star Mitchell Moses's career but the man himself says he can play a whole lot better than what he showed in Round 1.
The most impressive aspect of Moses's performance was that he did it in the absence of regular halves partner Luke Brooks and senior hooker Robbie Farah. In fact, stand-in playmaker Jack Littlejohn was moved to hooker to start the game leaving centre-turned-backrower Chris Lawrence (a cool head but not a noted ball player) filling in the halves.
From there, Moses ran the show, laying on two tries, notching two line-break assists and kicking for a match-high 278 metres. Four unanswered second-half tries from the Warriors threatened to spoil the party but Moses credited captain Aaron Woods for preventing panic from setting in as fullback James Tedesco ended up scoring the match-sealing try.
"I think I can play a lot better than that," Moses told NRL.com frankly.
"I felt pretty comfortable in the first half, I was just really simplifying things and we were playing to our strengths and playing to what we practised in the pre-season and it was good to see that it came off.
"We had to tweak a few things in our structure there. Having Chris Lawrence at five-eighth and Jack Littlejohn at hooker at the start of the game, we were just trying to play that forward role and get a roll on and play footy but having Luke back this week will really help take the pressure off me.
"I didn't mind having that pressure on me on the weekend, I like the pressure on me and really controlling the team but having Luke there will make my job a lot easier.
"Chris Lawrence has that calm head about him, having 'Woodsy' and the other players, they were calm at all times, even when we scored points, we didn't get too far ahead of ourselves. But I think we've got to come out in the second half a lot better than what we did."
Despite having something of a breakout game, Moses said he expected the return of Brooks from suspension for Monday's Leichhardt Oval match against Manly to lift his own game further.
"Brooksy's a really calm player and doesn't panic too much and he can really grind out a game, he's a halfback who takes control and makes my job a lot easier and I can play off the back of that," Moses said.
Back-rower Curtis Sironen was a beneficiary of a Moses pass for the opening try of the game last week and said the 21-year-old's performance surprised no-one within the club.
"I think everyone was a bit surprised [how well he played] – that was what surprised us!" Sironen laughed.
"He's been doing that at training for ages. I'm just really happy for him that it's starting to show. We were all expecting him to play like that because he's been so dominant through the pre-season and I'm pretty lucky to be running outside him. We expect him to have a few more games like that this year and really show everyone what he can do," he added.
Sironen also praised the leadership shown by Moses in the absence of other senior playmakers.
"Especially because we had Jack Littlejohn in there playing hooker as well. He did really well and the boys were really happy with him, but that just let Mitch take control of the game and play that first receiver role and run the whole show which he's pretty good at because he's so vocal and so dominant.
"We were all really happy with Mitch and it's good to be running outside him, he makes everyone around him look pretty good."
Sironen had the same assessment as Moses of the impact of the return of Brooks this week.
"With the both of them there, Brooksy will help Mitch shoulder the load so it will just be about finding that balance to not overplay their hand and be patient which will be good," Sironen said.
"Brooksy just adds another element to our attack and we'll be pretty dangerous with the ball - we've just got to make sure we can defend those points that we know we can score."