When Junior Moors runs on to the Sydney Football Stadium on Monday, March 15, he will be grateful in more ways than one.
Moors will make his club debut for Wests Tigers after arriving at Concord Oval in November after three years at Penrith, a place close to his heart.
The prop forward is hoping a change in clubs will also bring a change of luck. He played 24 NRL games for Penrith from 2007-2008 before a nasty pre-season injury crippled his season last year.
“I broke my leg in the first trial against Souths. It happened in the first 10 minutes. It was a pretty bad year. I didn’t come back until about round 10 and spent the rest of the season playing NSW Cup,’’ Moors said.
“It was hard to get back into the NRL side. The coach (Matt Elliot) was happy with the way the boys were going and he wasn’t too thrilled about the condition I was in.
“I felt I got back to playing some decent footy but it was too little too late. I was definitely looking for a new club by season’s end.
“There were a couple of clubs interested but when the offer came from the Wests Tigers, it seemed like a really good opportunity as I like the way they play footy.
“I was very nervous when I first came here as I hadn’t been anywhere else but Penrith ever since I started playing footy.
“The players were all good and made me feel welcome. I have enjoyed the change and it made it easier for me to just knuckle down and try to play some good footy.
“I was a bit star struck in my first two years of playing in the NRL and was just happy to be playing first grade. Now I feel like I want to play in a team that is ready to win.
“There are some really good forwards here and it is just a pleasure to be in the same pack as some of these blokes. It is just a big pleasure to be in this team no matter where I am chosen.”
Moors’ work ethic and good early form in the trials saw coach Tim Sheens award him with an interchange position for Monday night.
“Tim is a type of coach I have never come across. He is very thorough, he thinks of everything, and it has been a real education for me,’’ Moors said.
“Up until I came to the Wests Tigers, I only saw myself as a second-rower and would only play front row if I had to.
“I have learnt so much under Tim and now I want to play front-row especially with the style of play they play here as it suits my game.
“Manly has a real solid pack and are a good team but in saying that, our team looks very strong right across the park. We have plenty of depth too. I just can’t wait to play.”
Prop Keith Galloway says he has been more than impressed with Moors.
“I remember him as a junior. He was a year under me and I knew when the club signed him that he would be good,’’ Galloway said.
“Junior has an awesome offload and is pretty hard to put down. He has plenty of size and he won’t take a backward step. He will prove to be a good signing for the club.”
England international Gareth Ellis is another member of the Moors fan club.
“It is always difficult coming back from injury, particularly one like Junior had,’’ Ellis said.
“To be named in the team to play Manly this early in his Wests Tigers career is a great reward for how he has been training. He has plenty of skills.”
Five things you may not know about Junior Moors:
- His first cousins are Frank and Tony Puletua
- His favourite television show is Entourage.
- Has completed a web design course.
- Loves to play golf and nominates Twin Creeks as his favourite course.
- Follows Liverpool in the English Premier League
By Wayne Cousins
Yeah, sounds like a good guy to be around and he’s definitely put in a lot of effort during the off-season to get his fitness up and his playing weight to where it needs to be. Hope he adds some good impact coming off the bench on Monday night and I reckon he’ll improve a fair bit this season if he remains injury free.