Rising Wests Tigers playmaker Mitchell Moses says his first two NRL seasons left him sapped of confidence and questioned his love of the game.
Moses displayed renewed vigour and poise as he piloted his side to a thrilling 34-26 win over the Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night.
With half of the side’s spine missing for the round one clash – due to halfback Luke Brooks’ suspended and a knee injury to hooker Robbie Farah – Moses stepped up and produced a first-half masterclass as the Tigers jumped out to a 28-4 lead at the break.
Showcasing precision passing and vision that’s sometimes lacked in his game, the Tigers played with flair and abandon with Moses at the wheel in a display that bodes well for their 2016 campaign.
After being heavily hyped as a teenager, the 21-year-old has failed to find consistency since coming into first grade midway through 2014.
“The last couple of years I haven’t enjoyed my footy,” Moses told AAP.
“But I’m back to enjoying it and loving the way we play. It’s given us backs the freedom to run around the field and when we see something we can take it up.
“I think that’s the main thing – when you’re enjoying your footy, that’s when you play your best.”
Moses said he was in no rush to sort out his future as he considers whether to take up a one-year contract extension.
Moses and Brooks, considered the future of the club, are both off-contract at the end of 2016 but have clauses in their favour which allow them to take up another one-year deal.
Both have delayed decisions while the dust settles on the controversies that have plagued the joint-venture over the last 12 months, including former skipper Farah’s feud with coach Jason Taylor.
It is now up to Taylor to convince Moses that the club has a bright future. And performances like Saturday’s will do no harm to the joint venture’s hopes of retaining their star junior.
“There’s a lot more to be done to get this club back where it should be and that’s playing semi-final football,” Taylor said.
“Led by Woodsy (captain Aaron Woods), we want Mitch and Luke to take us there.
“We’d be disappointed if they weren’t there over the next few years to do it with us.”