Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler is under no illusion that Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses took a dive against Penrith in the opening round of the NRL but has accused the Panthers of a “stupid act” after being baited into the confrontation.
Moses came under fire from Penrith five-eighth James Maloney after he was awarded a penalty in the second half when Panthers centre Waqa Blake took exception to something the Eels No.7 did in a previous tackle and pushed him to the ground.
The Panthers were in possession at the time of the incident and were looking to rally from a 14-6 deficit before going on lose the match 20-12.
“He took a dive without a doubt,” Fittler told nswrl.com.au of the Moses incident.
“I couldn’t believe Waqa Blake actually reacted to what Mitchell did.
“That’s just not good enough. A lot of what Penrith did wasn’t good enough, their discipline, some of their ball control which was first game of the year in front of a pretty good crowd on a stinking hot day, I thought they were extremely disappointing.
“All kudos to Mitchell Moses there, he dragged a penalty from someone who did a stupid act under pressure.
“Reagan Campbell-Gillard did one in the same game and also got penalised on the same tackle. There’s two incidents where players lost their head and their team suffered the consequences.”
Fittler has a high opinion of Moses after selecting him for the Lebanon team he coached at the World Cup in 2017 and including him in the Emerging Blues squad which trained at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence in December.
“I think the key words are he’s a really good footy player and that’s what they need,” Fittler said.
“There’s less penalties, there’s less starts so they’re going to have to start scoring tries off being good footy players and seeing what they see in front of them.
“His halves partner Dylan Brown was fantastic so they combined well but his kicking is what set it up. There were some well-placed kicks, he dragged a couple of penalties out of Penrith through their ill-discipline, he was applying enough pressure to get them out of Penrith (with a win).
“Overall I thought he had a great game.”