The Parramatta Eels take on the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon (23 July) at ANZ Stadium in Round 20 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, where the two sides will play for the inaugural Stay Kind Cup.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur has stressed there is no extra expectations or pressure on halfback Mitch Moses, who comes up against his former side for the first time since a mid-season switch.
“Mitch has trained really well and we were fortunate enough to come off the back of a bye and a solid performance down in Melbourne so it has given him an extra few sessions to form combinations with Corey in the halves and also his partnership on the right with Jenko, Kenny and Tepai. But he is slowly getting better for us,” Arthur said.
“I spoke to him earlier in the week, about our expectations and they haven’t changed. Week to week, we want him to gain more confidence in the players around him and what he needs to do for the team and he has slowly been doing that for us each week.” Arthur added.
“That is the priority, we haven’t tried to ask him too much about the Tigers.”
Arthur has been pleased with Moses’ progression since joining the Club.
“Our win ratio with him in is high and I even think that his first game against Canberra for us, even though we lost that game, he played really well bar a few poor kicking options,” Arthur said.
“Since then, his kicking combination with Corey has developed and we are getting better and better with it.”
“We are really happy with where he is at.”
The Wests Tigers, whilst they sit in 15th position on the ladder, will still pose plenty of dangers.
Arthur knows that without any pressure for the opposition, they will be willing to chance their arm.
“I thought they [the Wests Tigers] were unlucky last week. I thought there was a turning point there in the game, where they were controlling the game, and a bit of bad luck went against them and they lost momentum from there.” Arthur said.
“They really have nothing to lose at the moment so there is plenty of chance in the game and we are going to have to be on our toes.”
For the clash, Arthur has made one change to his starting line up, with forward Siosaia Vave called into the front row with Daniel Alvaro moving to the bench.
Arthur is hoping the powerful forward can get the Eels on the front foot.
“Vave is a big body and we are looking forward to him carrying the ball forward for us and try and get us on the front foot,” Arthur said.
“Alvaro brings us something a little bit different, but with Vave starting, it gets us on the front foot with his carries, and Polar when he comes on will have a real high workrate for us.”
The Eels currently sit seventh on the ladder, and with the chance of making the Finals approaching, Arthur says the side is in control of their own destiny.
“If we are good enough to get there [the finals], we have put ourselves in a position. But we need to win on a consistent basis to get there so that’s the priority for us at the moment,” Arthur said.
“Its more about an 80 minute performance, we are yet to really play for a full 80 minutes so we need to get close to that pretty soon.”