THEY’RE Tiger cubs no more.
Wests Tigers five-eighth Mitchell Moses has declared age will not be an excuse for poor performances as he and halves partner Luke Brooks prepare to lead their side into the 2017 season.
The playmaking pair are both just 22, with Moses about to start his fourth NRL season, and Brooks his fifth.
It’s taken a couple of years, but they’ve started to find their feet in first grade.
“I think I took a bit of a leadership role on and kind of took it upon myself,” Moses said of his good form in the back half of last season. “But it wasn’t just me, the other players around me were doing that too.
“Me and Luke will try and take control of the team at the moment, we’re all young players but we’ve played together enough in first grade now so there’s no excuse to say that we’re too young.”
Moses and Brooks believe the Tigers are “building towards something special”, but whether or not they’ll both be at the club beyond 2017 remains to be seen.
They’re off contract and noncommittal over their future.
“I love playing with Teddy, Brooksy and that, but I’ve left that up to my management,” Moses said.
“I’m just focused on training and starting the season well for the Tigers. We’ll see what happens.”
The duo were among a group of 40 young players at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday for a NSW specialist pathways program designed by former Blues greats Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns, Danny Buderus, Anthony Minichiello and Mark O’Meley.
The group, made up of players aged from 14 to 22, were split up for position-specific sessions with the mentors.
“It’s good to meet some new young boys that are obviously good players and that guys like ‘Freddy’ think are the ones to lead NSW in the future,” Brooks said.
“I’m one of the older boys here which is a bit different for me.”
Brooks said he was hoping to share some of his experiences with the younger players about being a fulltime rugby league player.
“There are little tips about coming into first grade,” he said. “Because they’re at that age where they’re just starting to break through and experience footy as a career.
“So just helping out with little tips on training and stuff off-field.”
Moses believed the initiative would benefit him as he strives to reach his goal of Origin football.
“I grew up watching those players and looked up to them, especially Freddy and Joey,” Moses said. “To be coached by them is exciting.
“It’s always good to be noticed and doing these kinds of things and it’s a pathway for the players that they think can lead NSW into the future.
“I’d love to play (Origin) next year, that’s definitely my goal in what I want to do and the next rep side I want to make.
“It’s up to the coaches really. If I keep playing the kind of footy I was playing last season, I’ll just leave it up to the selectors.”