Mitchell Moses has discovered career-best form in Sydney’s west and has Parramatta daring to dream.
The Eels provisionally moved into the NRL top four with a comprehensive 20-4 dismantling of Canterbury in wet conditions at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
After being 13th through six rounds, the Eels have lost just three times since then and are on a six-match winning streak to be peaking at the right time of year.
The catalyst behind the Eels’ surge has been Moses’ controversial mid-season shift from the Wests Tigers.
After being maligned throughout his career for his failure to regularly deliver, he has found consistency under Brad Arthur.
His kicking game has come along in leaps and bounds, as demonstrated on Thursday night when he strangled the life out of the Dogs with his short game and regularly gave his team field position with his long kicking.
The Eels forced Des Hasler’s side to make nine drop-outs and Moses made good use of the advantage, setting up two tries to spearhead an important victory.
“We had a bit of a target on our kicks and what we wanted to achieve and where they started their sets and the boys did a really good job,” Arthur said of his halves Moses and Corey Norman.
The Eels are now assured of playing finals football for the first time since 2009 and have rivals looking over their shoulder.
Eels great Peter Sterling said during the Network Nine broadcast that the blue-and-golds could do anything in the finals if they finish in the top four.
“You wouldn’t want to be playing Parramatta in the last month,” Sterling said.
Arthur has been reluctant to talk up his side’s finals hopes, arguing their spot in the top eight wasn’t yet assured.
He said there was no reason they couldn’t compete with the best sides in the competition if they keep putting in performances similar to what they did against the Bulldogs.
“We’ve still got a bit to work on,” Arthur said.
“If we can continue to improve every week and stick to our plan like we did tonight with our discipline, and not get carried away, we can make some real noise.”