Mitchell Moses hoping Brad Fittler association extends to State of Origin
Mitchell Moses is hoping his association with Brad Fittler extends beyond their time in Lebanon camp, revealing his desire to impress his long-time hero and likely NSW coach as part of his push for a maiden State of Origin berth next year.
Moses will partner former Wests Tigers teammate Robbie Farah in the halves for the Cedars in their World Cup opener this weekend. It's a chance for the Parramatta playmaker to forge a strong bond with Lebanon mentor Fittler, tipped to take over from Laurie Daley as Blues coach from next month.
The 23-year-old's stocks are on the rise after a strong finish to the season culminated in the Eels playing finals football for the first time since 2009. He will be able to show how much his game has matured in clashes with France, England and Australia in what could prove to be an invaluable opportunity to bond with Fittler.
With long-time NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce again under pressure to retain the NSW No.7 jersey after another failed campaign, Moses said he was keen to crack the Origin arena.
"Definitely, 100 per cent. It's my goal every year," Moses said.
"If I keep playing the footy I was playing towards the end of the year, that stuff will sort itself out. We'll see what happens."
Moses said the opportunity to impress the likely NSW coach wasn't lost on him.
"Exactly. Whatever [selectors] do, I grew up idolising Freddie, he was one of the best five-eighths in the game.
"Whatever advice he can give me, I'm really going to listen in this camp. I'll take a lot out of this; whatever he has to say, I'll be listening.
"I'm not looking at it as in he's going to get the Blues job, I'll look at it as him being a world-class coach and a world-class player when he was playing. Whatever advice he has for me, I'll take in on board."
Fittler has already made his mark with the Cedars. The Panthers and Roosters legend has asked his squad to learn the Lebanese national anthem, orders his players to do 50 push-ups a day and encourages them to finish training by taking their boots off in an attempt to get back to nature.
Moses is buying in.
"It's a bit different, he's a pretty relaxed bloke," he said.
"For myself, I looked up to Freddie when I was younger and I'll take as much as I can out of this camp.
"He's one of the best five-eighths to play the game so whatever he says and whenever he gives you a few pointers about the game, you're always going to listen."
The opportunity to come into Lebanon camp with a mix of NRL players and semi-professionals is just the tonic to help Moses overcome the heartbreak of Parramatta's finals exit.
"It's brought my spirits back up," he said. "It was pretty shattering the way we finished and being here has helped me get over it.
"I've learned a lot [playing finals football]. The speed of the game, how much it changed, it's going to be the best thing for us as a team at Parramatta. We'll look to have a big year and take that experience into next season.
"I feel I've got a fair bit of improvement to go from this pre-season. Once this tournament is over I'll get straight back into training and get that full pre-eason under my belt. It will be massive."
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