The fitness sessions driving Moses

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur expects under-fire halfback Mitch Moses to produce his finest this season after he spent the off-season completing unprompted fitness sessions in a bid to become better in the big moments.

Moses has copped criticism in recent seasons for failing to deliver in the end of season games.

Arthur, though, says his playmaker is primed to defy the doubters and take his game to another level following a summer of fitness extras when his teammates were still on holidays.

“In the pre-season when the boys weren’t supposed to be here, Mitch was often in here working,” Arthur revealed ahead of Friday’s season opener against the Broncos in Brisbane.

“He is pumped for a big season. He knows how important it was to get himself right physically and he does a lot of work that people don’t see.

“He is passionate. He might rub some people up the wrong way, but he just wants to win.

“There is pressure on him and all halves in the competition, so he is embracing it and he is looking forward to a strong season.”

Eels coach Brad Arthur has full faith in halfback Mitch Moses firing this season. Picture. Phil HillyardSource:News Corp Australia

Arthur used Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson as Moses’s barometer for fitness success, not only at the Eels but in the NRL.

“I always talk about Gutho when people ask me why he is so cool and calm at the back end of games and invariably comes up with the best decisions,” he said.

“It’s because he is never fatigued, and when he is fatigued, he is on top of his game, and he knows exactly what he has to do.

“Mitch has been working hard at that.

“The way the game is going, the blokes that are really on top of themselves physically with their fitness are going to make better decisions under fatigue.”

Arthur also thinks pressure to perform will bring out the best in his off-contract stars this season.

The Eels have three big stars looking for deals beyond this season in Blake Ferguson, Maika Sivo and Nathan Brown.

Ferguson has been particularly vocal about his fear of being unwanted at Parramatta following his self-described “sh*t season”.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is embracing the expectations for the Eels in 2021. Picture: Jonathan NgSource:News Corp Australia

But Arthur can see the positives of a player fighting for their future.

“Look, every situation is different with every player, but times like these bring out the best in people,” he said.

“And you see how much they want it and the real desire. Fergo has had a really good pre-season and his indication in the All Stars match and our trial match was that he is ready for a big one.”

Arthur is also ready to embrace the expectation, revealing he has vowed to buy his daughter a dog if Parramatta win the premiership.

“My daughter has been pestering me a for a dog for a long time,” he said.

“When we won the Auckland Nines in 2016, I promised that I’d get her a dog, but I reneged, but if winning a competition means I’ve got to pick up dog poo for the rest of my life then I’m happy to do that. Whatever, I don’t care.”

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