Paul Kent believes Mitchell Moses failed in his bid to turn the momentum of the grand final with his kicking game, which shows he is not in the class of Nathan Cleary and the great halfbacks.
The Eels’ forward pack was blown away early in Penrith’s 28-12 Grand Final win, but Kent believes Moses could have done more to help his team get back in the contest.
“It wasn’t Mitchell Moses’ best kicking game, but it is hard to blame Mitch after the Eels were so dominated in the forwards all across the park,” Braith Anasta said on NRL 360.
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“But it certainly wasn’t one of his better days.”
Brent Read believes it is a bit tough to criticise Moses because very few halfbacks in history could have turned momentum in those circumstances.
“Not may halves can play off the back foot,” Read said.
“Nathan Cleary is probably one of them, but the Eels forwards just got towelled up.”
However, Kent believes the great halfbacks can play off the back foot and the challenge is for Moses to learn how to do it and execute when momentum is against his team.
“The great halves can though,” Kent said.
“That’s what you want from your halfback.”
“The great halves can, but how many of those are in the modern game?” Read answered.
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“Do you think he could have changed the game and been more dominant?” Anasta asked Kent.
“Well look when the Parramatta forwards are getting knocked around and they are not winning the yardage battle that is when you look to your halfback to help you out,” Kent said.
“That’s when you say, mate we are struggling here. They are getting up off the line quick. They are coming at us and putting us on our backs. None of that is Moses’ fault, but when he gets the ball and we have seen it in the past with the likes of the great halfbacks, they can put the ball into a corner and that’s how you start to win that yardage game.
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“That’s how you start to grind your way back into the game and Parramatta were unable to do that.
“They were unable to find a solution. The fact that Moses couldn’t kick them out of trouble. I don’t think his kick selection was particularly good.
“But beyond that I don’t think there was anybody else there who was capable either.”
James Hooper believes Moses showed he is not worthy of being up with Cleary as one of the highest paid players in the game with his performance in the grand final.
“We have heard Cooper Cronk say a number of times that a good kick can turn a bad set into a good set,” Hooper said.
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“You just felt that last night with Moses, there were reports all week that he could become the highest paid player in the game. Well on that performance last night on the biggest stage, he is not in the same league at the moment as the Nathan Cleary’s and those style of players.”
However, Read believes the Eels were being so dominated that it was near impossible for Moses to turn things around.
“There is a limit to what you can do though,” Read said.
“You say his kicking game can get them out of trouble, but when they are getting bashed as badly as they were and losing the territorial battle as badly as they were, no halfback could have kicked them out of trouble.”
“I think they could if you go back to some of the great halfbacks of the past,” Kent said.
Anasta believes Moses and the Eels needed to do more to take the few chances they had to turn the tide.
“You can be getting completely dominated and you may only have one, two or three moments in a half of footy and they just didn’t get those moments right,” Anasta said.
“They were dominated but if they had, any of those moments could have changed the context of the game.”