Parramatta Eels 2017 Season in Review
Parramatta Eels skipper Tim Mannah believes Mitchell Moses should start in the No.7 jersey for NSW next season after impressive performances in the World Cup for Lebanon under Brad Fittler.
Mannah said he watched first hand as Moses's game went through the roof during the tournament and wants to see the 23-year-old in sky-blue as part of a new State of Origin era in 2018.
Moses set up 10 tries in 16 appearances following a move to the Eels in 2017 and ran the ball more times in the Blue & Gold than during his stint at the Wests Tigers.
"He's got a huge future ahead of him and if you're asking me I think he should be the NSW halfback, he would be my first pick," Mannah told NRL.com.
"He threw himself into everything for Lebanon. His attitude was outstanding from the first day and I'm glad Brad [Fittler] was coaching and could see first-hand what he's really like."
Fittler, who has taken over at the Blues helm from Laurie Daley, said Moses had every chance to stake a claim for the position and confirmed he liked what he saw from the Eels pivot during the Cedars' performances.
"He's definitely in the mix," Fittler told NRL.com.
"Sometimes we talk about halves needing forwards to go forward but he made everyone else play better.
"I liked his game and we've all seen he has the skill to be a very good football player."
The perception of Moses was a hot topic throughout the Telstra Premiership with his on-field body language often putting him under the spotlight on social media.
"A lot of people say things about Mitchell without knowing what he's like," Mannah said.
"I've been friends with him for a while so I've known what he's really like. It's easy for me to block out the noise of what people want to say.
"Until you see it first-hand you've always got question marks in your head. Freddy (Fittler) got to see what a person and character he really is."
Fittler admitted he judged Moses through the papers prior to meeting him on World Cup duty after spending little time with him at club level.
"I didn't really know him before, so my perception was through the media and the way he came across through the whole Wests Tigers contract thing," Fittler said.
"There was no doubt people made up their minds because the contract drama played on for so long which only makes it worse for everyone.
"But he turned out to be good company and his footy has grown since making the move."