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Greg Alexander explains decision to pick Mitchell Moses as New South Wales' Nathan Cleary replacement

Jayden Collins

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Greg Alexander explains decision to pick Mitchell Moses as New South Wales' Nathan Cleary replacement

New South Wales selector Greg Alexander has explained the decision to pick Mitchell Moses in the Blues side in Nathan Cleary’s absence.

The Blues selection team had the difficult decision of choosing a replacement after the Penrith halfback was ruled out of the Origin series.

There were surprises among many when Eels star Moses was picked ahead of the likes of Dally M winner Nicho Hynes.

The Cronulla Sharks star has been selected for Game 1 but made a minimal impact coming on from the bench as he started behind Panthers’ duo Cleary and Jarome Luai.

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Credit: NRL/Supplied.
Credit: NRL/Supplied.

And while many were shocked to see Moses’ name on the team sheet for Game Two, Alexander believes he is at the right point in his career to take on the responsibility.

The Fox League expert told SPORTbible: “Mitch has been in great form, and I think Mitch is at an age now where physically and experience-wise, he's at the perfect mark in his career.

“I think he's played fantastic for Parramatta this year, although Para lost some tight games, I think Mitch's form has never been better.

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“We just thought Mitch was ready for those reasons. Great kicking game. It's all the attributes that a good half needs and I think Mitch is confident that he can get it done as well.”

Credit: NRL/Supplied.
Credit: NRL/Supplied.

Ultimately, he says the decision to leave Hynes out of the squad came down to needing versatility on the interchange bench.

He continued: “I think [Hynes] was probably unlucky to miss out.

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“We decided to go with two hookers and there's no room to cover another player that you're looking to fill holes and might not get much of a game. We just didn't have that luxury on the bench when we went with Damien Cook and Reece Robson.”

Credit: NRL/Supplied.
Credit: NRL/Supplied.

With the Blues entering a must-win game against the Maroons in enemy territory, there were calls from many online to reunite a trusted pairing of Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker in the halves.

With Cook selected in the hooker spot with Tigers star Api Koroisau injured, there was a belief that a Souths reunion up the spine would give New South Wales the edge.

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It was a possibility that ‘Brandy’ admits was considered.

He said: “Both players were discussed, yes. When Nathan Cleary was injured and us having to find a replacement, there were three great, very good candidates.

“You know, Nicho has been in great form for a long time now, as has Mitch and as has Adam Reynolds.

“You know, Adam's had a great season. I don't think has ever played better Adam Reynolds. So absolutely, there was a discussion around those players.”

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As for what he believes needs to change in Game Two in order for Brad Fittler’s men to be successful, he says: “Just not missing your assignment, because when you do, it generally costs you.

“I thought there was probably too many defensive lapses in our game. It only takes a couple to go down.

“So yeah, probably to win an origin game. We probably had too many defensive lapses.”

Every game of the 2023 NRL Season in HD, with no ad-breaks during play on Fox League, is available on Foxtel and Kayo.

Featured Image Credit: NRL/Supplied.

Topics: NRL, Australia, Rugby League

Jayden Collins
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