After agreeing to remain at Wests Tigers until the end of next year, young-gun NRL halves Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks are under pressure to finally fulfil on their promise.
The Tigers beat off several suitors for the highly rated local juniors, who elected to take up one-year options in their contracts to remain at Concord until at least the end of 2017.
The 21-year-olds have been saddled with expectation since coming into grade but have been criticised for only showing glimpses of their potential.
After losing seven of their first 10, pressure was piled on them to take control of the side, with league greats Peter Sterling and Andrew Johns criticising them for lack of involvement in the 36-4 loss to Canterbury in round 10.
They responded over their past two outings, with Brooks coming up with decisive plays in the 20-12 defeat of lowly Newcastle, and Moses kicking the winning field goal last weekend against a State of Origin-depleted Brisbane.
Their decision to stay on, and shun offers to go elsewhere, is a coup for the club, who plan to build a side around them, especially after being forced to offload Blake Austin and Martin Taupau to make room under the salary cap.
“It’s a really good group of players that we have at the club and I’m really grateful that I can continue playing footy with some of my best mates,” former Dally M rookie of the year Brooks said.
“We have put in a couple of good team performances in recent weeks so, hopefully, we can continue that and push for a place in the finals this year.”
Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe described Brooks and Moses as integral parts of the club’s future, while coach Jason Taylor described them as exceptionally talented.
“I’m really happy to have next year sorted now and it’s great to be able to stay at Wests Tigers,” Moses said.
“The club is really important to me and I believe we have a great group of players here that can achieve success.”