The staggering 10kms Mitch Moses ran against Brisbane last week has shown Parramatta coach Brad Arthur how much his halfback wants to win an NRL title.
Moses has copped the brunt of criticism for the Eels’ mixed form at the back end of the season, but Arthur says his 26-year-old playmaker cannot be blamed.
Over the past six weeks the Eels have dropped three games to St George Illawarra, South Sydney and Penrith, and they have not won back-to-back games since round 12 and 13.
And with the No.7 on his back, Moses has worn most of the blame for the Eels’ patchy attack.
However, on Friday morning Arthur said the criticism aimed at his star is unfair considering the Eels have won 75 per cent of their games and are vying for a top-four finish.
“He ran for 10kms last week, he had 64 touches, he had a couple of errors but at least he put himself in the game,” Arthur said.
“I think it’s been his best effort for a long time.
“Hopefully he’s back at full fitness, but for a halfback to travel over 10kms is a big game and I think it goes to show how important it is to him.
“He’ll be better again this week and he’ll need to be for us.
“It’s been a touch unfair. He’s one player in a team of 17 and everyone needs to own their role.”
At the start of the season the Eels hammered home the importance of defence and their attack suffered.
And even after scoring five tries against the Broncos last week, Arthur wants to see better execution with ball in hand to ice the big moments leading into the finals.
A win against the Wests Tigers on Saturday will give them a top-four finish and their best winning percentage for a season since 2001 – when they made the grand final.
“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves but we’ve worked extremely hard all year to be a top-four team and we need to work extremely hard (on Saturday) night to make sure we are a top-four team,” he said.
It will be an emotional contest for the Tigers who will farewell club legends Chris Lawrence and Benji Marshall, who is still without a club for 2021.
“They’ve got a lot to play for, although they’re not playing to be in contention for the finals, they’ve got two club legends they’d like to send off on a winning note,” Arthur said.
STATS THAT MATTER
*This will be the fourth straight game between the two at Bankwest Stadium with the Eels winning all three by a combined score of 107-40 (36-13 on average).
*Since their 48-0 win over Brisbane in round 10, the Tigers have conceded at least 26 points in each of their nine games. No team in premiership history (1908 onwards) has conceded 26 points or more in 10 straight games.
*Parramatta are conceding just under 14 points per game this season, their lowest regular season average since 1999 (12.3) when they finished second.