Ivan Cleary yet to decide if Mitchell Moses will be granted mid-season switch to Eels

MITCHELL Moses is leaving the Big Four for the Unlucky 36.

But when?

Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary says he is yet to decide if the young playmaker will be granted a mid-season switch to the Eels, adding: “If you sign a contract, you should stick to it”.

With the two teams facing each other at ANZ Stadium on Monday, Moses was hoping to play the Easter Monday game then switch — thereby joining that long list of halfbacks signed since the retirement of Eels premiership hero Peter Sterling.

Indeed, in the 25 years since Sterlo left the game, Parramatta have used more than a halfback each year as their famed seven has been tossed around among the likes of Kieran Foran, Jason Bell, John Simon, Stu Galbraith, Tulsen Tollett, Tim Smith, Chris Thorman even Gary ‘Whiz’ Freeman.

All that, too, without an Eels premiership.

But as for when Moses officially inks himself on to that most infamous of rugby league lists?

Who knows.

Quizzed on whether he would grant an early release, Cleary said: “I really haven’t thought about it too much at all.

“It was a bit of a shock what happened last week. I’ve got enough to worry about before things like that.”

Pushed on when he would make the decision, Cleary added: “I guess those thoughts will come in my head when they come in.

“Mitch is part of this team right now, that’s how I see it.”

Cleary also said he was against players switching between clubs mid-season.

“Personally, I’m not a fan of players moving mid season,’’ he said.

“I know it’s a business but if you sign a contract, you should stick to it. That’s how I see it.”

And as for a transfer window?

“Look, it’s a hard one and I don’t know the exact answer,’’ Cleary said.

“I probably favour (a transfer window) over what’s happening now.

“I’m not a fan of speculation driving supporter interest in our game. I’d prefer our game to be viewed by the game itself.

“There’s not enough of that in our sport compared to others. The analysis of the game is probably a bit on the low side.

“We’d rather focus on speculation and get excited by that. Hopefully one day that can change.”

Elsewhere, Eels coach Brad Arthur also offered little on the future of Moses, who is expected to play halfback on arrival, pushing Corey Norman back to his preferred position of five-eighth.

“I’m not sure where we’re at with that, but it’s not a priority,’’ Arthur said.

“There’s only talk at the moment.”

Initially, it was suggested Cleary denied Moses an immediate release because fellow Tigers playmaker Luke Brooks remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The club wasn’t keen on releasing the young gun to play against them on Monday afternoon, either.

Cleary also wants to quickly sort out the futures of fellow Big Four members Aaron Woods and James Tedesco “one way or another”, admitting the ongoing speculation had likely taken its toll on the players.

The coach added, however, that he expected Moses to be fine playing against the Eels.

“It will have crossed his mind that we’re playing Parramatta,’’ Clearly said.

“But we haven’t discussed it.

“Sure he probably thought about that early on the week or last week when (his deal) was done. But for the rest of the week and certainly today the focus will be on his job with Wests Tigers.

“We’ve heard lots of commentary … but his job is here, to play for Wests Tigers and his teammates.”

PARRAMATTA HALFBACKS SINCE PETER STERLING

NAME GAMES
Chris Sandow 71
Tim Smith 71
Jeff Robson 53
John Simon 41
Stu Galbraith 38
David Penna 38
Jason Taylor 26
Chris Lawler 26
Michael Witt 24
Jason Bell 24
Brett Finch 23
Luke Kelly 23
Gary Freeman 21
Andrew McFadden 17
Daniel Mortimer 15
PJ Marsh 14
Ben Kusto 14
Adam Dykes 12
Tulsen Tollett 12
Corey Norman 11
Jeremy Smith 10
Casey McGuire 9
Kris Keating 8
Kieran Foran 8
Paul Green 7
Brad Drew 6
Chris Thorman 5
John Frare 3
Troy Pezet 2
Martin Seal 2
Craig Freer 1
Luke Burt 1
Ben Roberts 1
James Webster 1
Keith Blackett 1