Sport

NRL: Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has launched a staunch defence of under-siege halfback Mitch Moses

NRL: Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has launched a staunch defence of under-siege halfback Mitch Moses

Parramatta halfback Mitch Moses has copped criticism for failing to ignite the Eels’ attack, his coach Brad Arthur has launched a staunch defence of his playmaker.

Moses has copped heavy criticism in recent weeks for failing to spark the Eels’ attack as the team’s No.7 general in the absence of injured five-eighth Dylan Brown.

Parramatta legends like Brett Kenny and Mick Cronin united earlier this week to launch a powerful defence of Moses.

Now his coach has jumped in, proclaiming that it is unwarranted for critics to single out one player in a team game.

Arthur used last round’s win over Brisbane as evidence that Moses’ effort is there despite claims that he isn’t doing enough to inspire his team.

“I don’t know, he ran for 10 kilometres last week,” Arthur said.

“And he had 64 touches. He made a couple of errors, but he put himself in the game and I think it was his best effort for a long time.

“Hopefully, he is back at full fitness but for a halftime to travel over 10 kilometres in a game is a big effort.

“It just shows you how important it is to him and the effort that he put in.

“He will be better again this week and he will need to be for us, but I think it (the criticism) has been a touch unfair.

“He is one player in a team of 17 and everyone needs to own their role.”

One of the main criticisms of Moses, which dates back seasons, is his inability to produce the big play under pressure.

Arthur acknowledged this side of his halfback’s game, but he also believes his playmaker has handled the heat in the past.

“He has learnt to deal with it,” he said.

“We’ve won 75 per cent of our games. If we set out to do that at the start of the year, we would be impressed and happy.

“There are some games that we put ourselves in a position to win and didn’t. but there have been plenty of games where we have had to fight, grind, and kick our way to a victory.

“And Mitch has helped in those moments.

“It is very hard to nail down one person on a team result, because you need everyone contributing.

“But there have been plenty of games where Mitch has had to keep his head and stay calm, like against Cronulla in the wet when with 10 minutes to go we had to defend our way to victory and kick well to the corners.

“He has been a big contributing factor for us all season.”

Parramatta will confirm a top four finish, and two chances in the finals, if they beat the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night.

Arthur is confident but wary of the Tigers, who will be desperate to farewell club legends Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence.

“They have a lot to play for, although they are not playing to be in contention for the finals,” he said.

“They have got two club legends that they would like to send off on a winning note and our games against the Tigers, especially the last one, are always tough.

“I think they are playing some real attacking, entertaining football.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we’ve worked extremely hard all season to be a top four team and we need to work extremely hard tomorrow night to make sure that we remain a top four team.”