PARRA’S HOPES CUT IN HALF
Unlucky break sees Eels lose their general
MICHAEL CARAYANNIS & BRENT READ
PARRAMATTA players have rallied behind Eels youngster Jakob Arthur to guide them into the NRL finals, with fears star halfback Mitch Moses faces an extended stint on the sidelines with a broken finger.
Moses will undergo surgery to repair the badly damaged digit he injured in the first half during Parramatta’s win against Penrith on Friday night.
He finished the match despite the injury but scans revealed he is expected to miss at least a month.
The injury will leave a major dent on Parramatta’s top-four aspirations.
They are lurking just outside the top four but have a tough run to complete the regulation season.
They play the Sea Eagles on Friday night before taking on South Sydney, Canterbury, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Eels co-captain Junior Paulo said Moses had downplayed the injury to his teammates after the game.
“We thought it was a broken finger nail at halftime,” Paulo told ABC Sport.
“We were giving it to him after the game.”
Moses was restricted to defending on the wing at times during the second-half on Friday night. He came on after the halftime break with a heavily strapped hand.
The Eels are now expected to turn to Arthur. It has been a turbulent period for the 19-year-old who was disgracefully booed by his own fans when he was presented on the big screen ahead of his most recent first grade match.
Arthur has played six games this season but has only started in two – partnering Moses in the halves.
Paulo said Arthur would have no trouble directing the team around.
“If there is anyone that knows the game plan better than anyone it is Jake,” Paulo said. “He has been around for years now to learn our game plan.
He puts a lot of time into the game.
That’s something we can’t fault him on.
He certainly has the effort and he will be able to steer us around.”
Will Penisini also backed Arthur. “If Jake is the one to step into his position, I know he will do a job,” Penisini told Triple M.
“Obviously Mitch is a big part of our squad. He’s basically our captain on the field and steering the ship around and telling the boys what to do and where to go.”
After the game – prior to knowing the extent of his injury – Moses was happy with his team’s performance against the high-flying Panthers.
“Even when they went to 12 men with 20 to go in the first half, we stayed calm, and completed our sets, built pressure down their end and knew points would come,” Moses said.
“In the past, we probably haven’t done that or done that very well when they’ve gone to 12 men. That was a pleasing thing.” — with Jen Dawson and 3 others.