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Eels halfback Mitchell Moses.

Extra weight sessions appear to have paid off for Mitchell Moses, with the Eels No.7 showing his strength to save a try, while demonstrating he had lost none of his speed with a brilliant individual four-pointer in Saturday’s 22-22 draw with Penrith at Bega.

Moses brought the 5000 capacity crowd to their feet when he chipped and regathered to score early in the second half but coach Brad Arthur was more impressed by how he was able to prevent Panthers winger Josh Mansour grounding the ball to save a first-half try.

“He was good, I really liked his defence,” Arthur said. “It has taken some convincing with him to do some extra work around his strength training and put on a couple of extra kilos. It is not a lot but he is stronger.”

The star playmaker weighed 85kg last season when he steered the Eels back to the finals and was chosen for Australia at the World Cup 9s but he was concerned that he may lose some speed with the extra gym sessions.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels

However, Arthur said that it was evident his pace had not been effected, while Moses will be physically stronger this season.

“He was always worried about is pace but he is not losing anything because he is very fast and he has put a lot of time into some morning sessions to do some extra strength work and I reckon it showed today,” Arthur said.

“He was a bit rusty in attack but I think that was to be expected. He has got a skill set that we can’t coach or teach so it is just allowing him to be able to use that but he has got to earn the right and he did that on the back of his defence today.”

The Eels finished the match unscathed, while their fans at the EISS Super Sapphire Trial Tribute match left happy after John Fonua scored an 80th minute try to level the scores at 22-22.

Moses chips and chases his way to a double

Arthur said Brad Taikarangi and Waqa Blake are expected to be available for the round one clash with Canterbury, which will officially open the NRL season on March 12 at Bankwest Stadium.

“We got what we needed out of it. I thought we were OK physically in terms of our intent and our whack,” he said.

“We had some good running in our legs. I don’t think we looked tired or under stress so that was important for us. We have had a good pre-season and we have had a healthy pre-season.”