Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses has opened up on the influence eighth Immortal Andrew Johns will have on the Eels 2020 premiership hopes, saying: “I’ve never had a coach who could teach me like this”.
Already outed by Brad Fittler as a contender for the NSW Origin halves this year, 25-year-old Mitchell says his twice-weekly sessions with Johns are like nothing he has ever done before.
Better, the Eels playmaker revealed the club’s new specialist coach was “teaching me how to really play” in the No.7 jersey – even after a year where he was crowned Dally M halfback, earned an Australian Nines jersey and orchestrated more tries than Cooper Cronk, Cameron Munster or Luke Keary.

If the Eels are to break what is now rugby league’s longest premiership drought – having not won a title since way back in 1986 — much will depend not only on poster boy Moses, but also his relationship with teen sensation Dylan Brown.
Enter Johns.
Twice a week, rugby league’s eighth Immortal is working not only with the Eels halves but the entire spine, usually in sessions lasting around 90 minutes.
“And Joey’s teaching me how to really play the halfback position,” Mitchell told The Daily Telegraph.

“That’s the best thing he’s done for me.
“He’s the best halfback to ever play the game and the stuff he’s teaching me – just how to engage the line, how to create space for the men outside you – it’s really effective.

“I’ve never had a coach who could teach me how to play the actual position before.
“But he’s giving me so many tips.
“Joey’s been great for me, Dylan (Brown), our whole spine.”
Asked if he was surprised by how much Johns had taught him, Moses continued: “I’m just excited to go test it in games.
“You can always learn new things, no matter how far you are into your career, and Joey has been great for me the way that he’s done that.”

Moses is one of several stars named in a red-hot Eels side contesting the NRL Nines in Perth this weekend — with the squad also boasting Wests Tigers recruit Ryan Matterson, skipper Clint Gutherson, Fijian flyer Maika Sivo, NSW Origin star Blake Ferguson and hyped teenager Stefano Utoikamanu.

Dylan Brown will link up again with Mitchell Moses in the halves. Picture: Damian Shaw
The Parramatta halfback also insisted he and young five-eighth Brown would be a stronger combination when the season proper gets underway, given the latter missed a chunk of last season with a troublesome back issue.
“Only with repetition do you start to learn what works best for each other,” Moses said. “And I think now, after our second pre-season together, we’ve worked that out.
“For Dylan, he just needs to simplify his game.
“Keep things simple, do what he needs to do and I’ll take as much pressure off him as possible.

“After the injury problems he had last year, this pre-season has really been about looking after his back and getting the work in — which he’s done.
“Dylan has made sure he is doing all the right things.”
Elsewhere, Moses suggested the way his Eels were bundled out of last year’s title race, thumped by Melbourne 32-zip in the semi-finals, had steeled them for a stronger showing this winter.
“The way we finished last year, it was upsetting,” the Eels No.7 conceded. “Through the year, we had a problem playing away but felt it was fixed by the finals.
“But then for that last game (at AAMI Park), we just didn’t turn up. Yet the experience of that game will be great for us.
“We were a young side last year and we can build on that.”

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  • Can't wait to see the growth in Moses this season, he took his game up a notch last season and if he improves even more this season we will be contenders.

  • Moses is 25 years old who has never performed in a big game against top opposition  , he has had no passing  game or ball playing skills which is why 90% of his try assists have come from kicks. Johns has a big job to do . 


    Just on johns can anyone name any players he has helped in all his time as a assistant coach ? I know he has been punted by many of the club's he has been at but what is his track record ?

    • So you are saying we punt both Moses and Johns despite both on contacts? Better off with nothng? Just trying to understand the thinking here.

      • No I'm saying that at 25 years of age Moses has more negatives than positives on his gsme and that it will be a huge job to do rectify his negatives. 


        My other ppoint is that Johns as a assistant coach and mentor at clubs has done very little , their is a reason why all the cubs he has been at has me go and not kept him .  

        • That's not accurate Frankie, his game has improved steadily year on year. From a skills standpoint he really has no weaknesses, you're constant reference to his supposed lack of "passing" skills is both vague & nonsense. His passing skills has little to nothing to do with his try or line break assists.

          If you want to go to the stats he had the following ...

          25 try assists (1st in the league)

          12 line break assists (18th in the league), but Gutho had 16, (6th in the league), which suggests that Mitch & Dylan's job was to get the ball to the edges quickly and Gutho was the one who threw the final pass, hence he got the assist. 

          By way of comparison, Cooper Cronk only had 8 line break assists & 10 try assists.

          So those numbers clealry refute your notion that Mitch hasn't got ballplaying skills.

          Your other constant complaint that Mitch got 90% of his try assists from kicks is again nonsense, if you got 25 try assists & 12 line break assists to your credit, then clearly it isn't 90%.

          But even if it is, is that an issue ?

          Firstly that tells you he has an excellent & precise kicking game, which is fairly important for a halfback, and secondly it also suggests that defensive lines are getting up quickly to shut down our strikepower out wide, which then opens up space in behind for short kicks that lead to tries.

          As for Joey, just because he no longer is involved with other clubs doesn't mean they fired him. They could've been short term appointments, maybe the club had to cut football department costs and couldn't justify a specialist halves coach, or maybe Joey decided that he had achieved his goals and left of his own volition.

          HIm leaving doesn't automatically equate to him being fired.


          • Joey should give them confidence fongy, dont write his help off just yet, it could be vital.

            I heard Moses say the other day 'weve never had a halves coach', that cant be good for us bro, it will have to help.

            I think it might be the difference this year, especially confidence wise.

            • I'm not writing anyone off , all said we it will be a huge job for Johns to fix Moses mant flaws and that Johns does not have a very good record when it comes to helping players , some on here are acting like John's is some kind of miracle worker who turns every player he works with into a champion.  


              More chance of Johns publicly apologising for something than turning Moses into a champ but good luck to both of them.  

            • Fong, this season is career defining for Moses dont get me wrong last year he performed well but to start challenging the better teams the team needs more - Moses at times can play side to side and better defensive team deal with that type of play easily, playing a more direct style is something Moses needs to work on and I'm  sure joey can coach that into him. I watched a game live last year Roosters V Knights, the highlight of the game was watching Cronk put on halfback master class - directing and postioning players during the set, targeting weak spots on regular basis, Dylan Brown is more of halfback and Moses I think is a running 5/8 

          • Your other constant complaint that Mitch got 90% of his try assists from kicks is again nonsense, if you got 25 try assists & 12 line break assists to your credit, then clearly it isn't 90%. "  Brett not sure if  you know but line break assists are not try assists,  Moses try assists bar 5 all came from kicks. 


            Why did the eels struggle to score in so many games where they had majority  possession and field position ? Why in so many games did  we always hear " the eels need to convert all this field position and possession into points ? Because inside the opposition 20 Moses was no  threat to the opposition and they knew he only has a kick which is why parra were a easy team ro defend against .


            You compare his stats to Cronk yet you  dont mention  how many games he missed , the same way you would never mention how he only had the most try assists because Keary and DCE played less games than him.  



            Moses is a genius when the eels are running down hill and the opposition  are  not in the contest,  against the Broncos who where a rabble Moses was a world beater but  as usual when he came up against top opposition in the storm the next week he did fuck , the eels  had more possession and field position than the storm and had more tackles inside the opposition 20 than the storm and at one stage had 23 tackles in a row inside the storm 20 and all Moses could do was look clueless and wait for the 5th and put a kick up and hope for the best. 


            Brett every top half over the years from Johns , Langer , Sticky, Thurston , Cronk , Sterling etc had all the skills , they were brilliant  ball players who always bamboozled the defence and kept them in two minds , they had brilliant passing games  and brilliant kicking games both attacking and in general and they always performed against top opposition. 


            You can't show any evidence where Moses has performed in a big game against top opposition ( I can show lots of evidence where he has failed) 


            • Can you show me the evidence that only 5 of his try assistscame from passing the ball ?

              Because NRL stats doesn't show the difference.

              Yes, I am perfectly aware that LB assists aren't the same as Try Assists, but it stands to reason that Line Breaks tend to lead to tries for the most part. Even so, what it tells us is that he was proficient at opening up gaps in the defence, which is the thrust of your counterargument, that he doesn't possess that skill, when clearly he does.

              Why did the eels struggle to score in so many games where they had majority  possession and field position ? Why in so many games did  we always hear " the eels need to convert all this field position and possession into points ? Because inside the opposition 20 Moses was no  threat to the opposition and they knew he only has a kick which is why parra were a easy team ro defend against .

              Where is your evidence to support this statement Frankie ? You love to make sweeping statements, but you never provide any evidence to support. Those statements are true of every team, because every team defends their own line with 11 or 12 men in the defensive line as opposed to the normal 10. In todays game the hardest place on the field to attack is inside the opposition 20 because the fullback, and sometimes the 2nd marker, defend in the line. But defending that way makes them more vulnerable to the short kick in behind.

              Cronk played 23 games last yeason, Mitch played 26.

              Yes Keary & DCE did play fewer games, but Mitch had 25 in 26, Keary 22 in 22, DCE 21 in 21. So yes, had they played 26 games they may have had slightly more try assists than Mitch, that's fine, that doesn't make Mitch's achievement less impressive. Keary & DCE are great halves, so is Mitch. The difference is minimal.

              BTW I'm not saying that Cronk isn't a great halfback because he only had 10 Try Assists, I'm saying that Try Assists alone is not an indicator of a halfbacks value, like you are implying. 

              You're right that Mitch has someway to go, no one is arguing that point, but he is not the nuffy you like to make him out to be either. 

              And as far as performing against top opposition, Mitch is not on his own in that respect. The entire team was guilty of flapping against the Storm in the finals. It is unfair to lay it entirely at his feet.

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