Moses making Tigers his own: Halatau
Wests Tigers vice-captain Dene Halatau can identify the exact moment he realised young teammate Mitchell Moses had become a leader of the club.
It was during the Wests Tigers' Round 20 win over St George Illawarra, when Halatau, fellow vice-captain Chris Lawrence and skipper Aaron Woods were all sitting on the bench.
The 21-year-old was told to take control of the situation and consequently led the Tigers to a 25-12 win over the Red V and ex-Tigers great Benji Marshall.
Moses has been able to maintain his form resurgence ever since and has played a huge role in the Tigers sitting one point out of the NRL Telstra Premiership's top eight.
The retiring Halatau believes Moses' development this year has been bred from his maturing disposition.
With Robbie Farah dumped from first grade by coach Jason Taylor, Halatau has featured at hooker of late and said it's been an honour to see out his career alongside Moses.
"Mitch has actually mellowed out a lot this year, he’s grown a lot as a footballer. Part of that has been because he's tempering himself a lot," Halatau said.
"He’s really vocal and came [into the NRL] that way but he probably didn’t channel that the right way initially.
"Now he’s awesome. His growth has been awesome and it’s a pleasure for me to play at nine for him and listen to him out there."
Tigers prop Sauaso Sue is a member of the club's seven-man leadership group and said Moses should be the next man promoted by Taylor.
With Farah expected to depart and Halatau's career coming to a close, Moses is an odds-on favourite to be promoted to the group.
"Mitch has just improved so much out of sight," Sue said.
"He is more vocal, his skills have picked up and it's good that the stuff he has been trying to do at training in the last few years is paying off on the field.
"His confidence is up there and it's helping the team. He really leads the boys well out there and he's even helped me and my game."
Halfback Luke Brooks' return from a knee injury is only going to help Moses continue his string of excellent form.
The young Tigers halves will come face-to-face with fellow boom rookie Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary on Friday night.
Penrith will be out to avenge their 34-26 loss to Wests Tigers seven weeks ago according to Halatau, who believes Cleary and Moses will have a big say on the end result.
"Watching Nathan Cleary from afar, for a guy as young as him to be playing as comfortably as he is in first grade, taking the hits and having traffic run at him all day in defence, he’s doing a great job," Halatau said.
"To have guys like that coming through is exciting, for the game to have these young stars who are showing at a young age how mature they are as footballers."