Mitchell Moses has expressed his disappointment at Nathan Cleary for failing to atone for NSW’s Origin I defeat after clearly making his case to usurp the Blues No.7 jersey.
While the NSW squad for Origin II in Brisbane on June 21 was named on Tuesday, Moses made the most of the opportunity to replace the injured Cleary by leading Parramatta to a 34-12 loss to Canterbury on Monday.
After replacing the injured Clearin in the final game of the 2021 series, Moses waited for another opportunity, but regretted the Panthers star.
“I’d love to have another crack at it, but if it comes, it comes,” Moses said. “At the moment, No. 7 was unlucky to get injured. Nat has been the best player for the past four years, so it’s sad to see him go.
“When I saw what happened to him, I felt bad for him. There was a lot of pressure on him after the game, it’s very difficult to deal with it and not be able to perform after that.
“As a rugby league player you want to prove the critics wrong and I don’t think he’ll get the chance, so it’s unfortunate for him.
“He’s been the best player the last four years, so I think I’m behind him.”
Moses bagged two tries, a line break and a break assist during his 120m run with the ball, but Blues coach Brad Fittler was impressed by the late-match text book cover decision.
The Vipers led by 22 points with just eight minutes remaining when Moses chased down Jacob Preston’s runway 40 yards, dived with his feet and made a one-and-one shot around his ankle.
Moses’ gate is amazing
“For Mitch’s ability to get back out there, his work ethic and his willingness and desire to do it, it has to come from and within his teammates,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said. “I think it was made for Origin.”
Musa, who led the Eels to the grand final last year and captained Lebanon at the World Cup, played 73 minutes in Queensland’s 20-18 previous Origin win with back pain.
“It was a great opportunity and it was a great experience, but it was tough, I got hit hard early in the game,” Moses said.
“I bit my lip for 70 minutes and did my best. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get the win that night, but we won the series.”
Arthur: Moses was made to appear
The Blues travel to Suncorp Stadium, needing to defy relegation history by winning Match II in Brisbane and then reaching the decider after losing the previous match 26-18 at Adelaide Oval.
However, Arthur has no doubts that Moses is the man to lead NSW to series victory after watching him mature at the Eels since 2017.
“If you talk about his football, his kicking game is really good. Teams can come after him and try to pressure him, but his kicking game never seems to let him down,” Arthur said.
“Then you add to that his running game, but I think the biggest improvement we’ve seen in Mitch as a club is his defense and he’s a very good quarterback. After that, he became calm and mature.
“I thought the Bulldogs threw a lot at us, and he just stayed calm. Every time they thought they got a little sniff in the game, he kept kicking it long into the right corner, and he didn’t miss it. put some pressure on.
“When he got to 24-6, maybe a few years ago, Mitch would have tried to make it 40. [points] immediately, but it didn’t happen.
“He just hit the corners and was patient, and I don’t think it’s going to be easy, especially in Origin or big games.”
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