Mitchell Moses is a more prepared man than in his 2017 finals jaunt with the Parramatta halfback now ready to shoulder a young team into September.
Now in his sixth NRL season, Moses is in pursuit of his first finals win in Sunday’s eliminator against Brisbane.
Downtrodden and seemingly on the outer this time last year, Moses will suddenly be faced with the biggest match of his career against the Broncos at Bankwest Stadium.
The 24-year-old’s story of 2019 is well known after taking the Eels from the wooden spoon to the fifth place.
The tale of how he skipped a summer holiday to begin his pre-season early.
The fact he’s played so much better knowing the team is his, after his combination with Corey Norman broke down last year before the Queenslanders’ exit.
And how he earned himself a new contract, as he almost tripled his try-assists from 10 last year to 29 this season.
“I just wasn’t happy with my form (in 2018). It was just as simple as that,” Moses said.
“Everyone who was here last year can say that.
“I wanted to prove to Parramatta it wasn’t me, and they made the right decision (keeping me).”
What’s not been seen, however, is the change in Moses’s preparation on a weekly basis.
Centre Michael Jennings told AAP this week how it had increased significantly compared to last year.
Hooker Reed Mahoney and five-eighth Dylan Brown on Thursday praised the leadership of Moses, with the No.7 at the helm of the youngest first-choice NRL spine this century.
“I’ve put a fair bit more into my game, just kicking game, game plan wise and all those things,” Moses said.
“Just sitting down with the coaches and working out how to play each team.
“Working with all the other boys and what I need out of them each week.
“It might have had something to do with (knowing it was my team).
“It was just that time, having such a young spine here at Parra.
“You need to put some time into your game and it’s paid off at the moment.”
Moses is adamant he has learned from the mistakes of two years ago when Parramatta made the finals and crashed out in straight sets.
But he is driven more by the disappointment of last year, as the Eels won just six games and prompted his early return to training last October.
He said he’s now more disciplined and working close with coach Brad Arthur on the team’s direction.
“I think he feels comfortable now being able to give me a game plan and follow it,” Moses said.
“In the past few years I’ve probably gone away from it a fair bit and it’s made him lose his hair probably.”