“In my heart, they shattered it,” recalls Parramatta’s Mitchell Moses, reflecting on the regrettable Storm salary cap scandal. However, he admits that, were the tables turned, he would rejoice in a 2009 Grand Final victory as Melbourne did last week.
In Sunday’s face-off against St George Illawarra, Moses is set to rejoin his teammate, Dylan Brown. Fresh from his seven-week suspension, Brown’s return is much anticipated as the Eels are fighting to maintain their finals viability. Having suffered consecutive losses, notably to Melbourne, the finalists of the previous year are now on the precipice of missing out on the playoffs.
Last week saw the Storm commemorate their quarter of a century in the league by parading copies of their NRL titles, which ignited some controversy. It’s pertinent to remember that the 2007 and 2009 championships, indeed paraded last week, were revoked when it was discovered that the team were consistently violating the salary cap.
The Eels, runners-up in the 2009 competition and the opposing team during last week’s outbreak of festivity at Marvel Stadium, were not awarded winners in their stead.
Moses, a fervent supporter of Parramatta, confesses his disappointment at the time. Nevertheless, he voices no grievance about the past week’s commemoration by the Storm.
“That was against Parra as well, that kind of broke my heart,” Moses shared with the press.
“Being a passionate Parra supporter, the removal of that ’09 premiership title hit hard. However, if we were in their place, we would be commemorating the victory.”
“I’m not concerned about their doings. More power to them, a game is always tough irrespective of your positioning about the cap,” he said.
“If they choose to revel in this way, they have every right to. In their shoes, I would probably do the same.”
When queried about whether Moses took issue with the Storm’s anniversary festivities, he assured: “Not at all, couldn’t care less. They were found out, that’s the bare truth.”
For Moses, Brown’s comeback plays heavily on his mind. Brown recently received his Community Correction Order sentence after admitting to two counts of unconsented sexual touching, ergo the NRL suspended him.
Moses speaks of Brown’s reappearance in the match against the Dragons as a timely intervention.
“Yes, undoubtedly, it’s of colossal importance,” agreed Moses.
“And prior to his suspension, Brown was probably the most impressive player in the league.
So hopefully, he can regain that form. Really, we don’t have the time for him to be gradually paced, we need him at his best. He presents well, appears fit and prepared.”
Arthur Brad, Parramatta coach, stressed that Brown owes his teammates amends, a sentiment echoed by Moses.
“Indeed, if you were faced with a suspension, you would empathise,” Moses opines.
“He just needs to get out on the field and perform his duty, without overreaching. With this mindset, his game will thrive.”
“The actions were beyond his control once the consequences were decreed. He only had to accept it and move forward. And that is exactly his approach.”
“Initially, our performance wasn’t greatly disrupted by his absence, but lately we’ve encountered some setbacks.”
“It is a relief to have him return, it’s key to our success, then we have the additional advantage of other players rejoining the squad in the following weeks,” Moses continued.
“Brown doesn’t need to go above and beyond, he just needs to fulfil his part proficiently. Assuming he does what is asked of him, we should exceed expectations.”