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NRL Tigers’Moses Mbye visits Manilla

NRL West Tigers’ Moses Mbye can slot successfully into the positions of fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker on the paddock, so giving pointers on the game to young school students should be considered a walk in the park for the utility player.

The current Tiger fullback, 2019 captain and 2020co-captain took time out from his team’s promotional tour of the region to conduct separate Question & Answer sessions with the various classes at St Michael’s Primary School in Manilla last week.

“All the squad’s up here doing clinics around schools and communities. It’s been a tough year for them with Covid and the drought, so it’s our way of engaging with rural communities. That’s where we get a lot of good players. I’ve seen plenty of talent while travelling around country towns. They seem to breed them tough in the bush, and most of the good ones learned to play in their backyards,” Moses said.

Moses discovered his love of the game at the tender age of eight – “my older brother played and it all rolled on from there,” he said.

Already on the 27-year-old’s list of achievements are representative roles with the Queensland Under 20s (2012 and 2013) and pulling on a Kangaroo Junior jumper. He made his first grade NRL debut with Canterbury Bulldogs in 2014–even helping his new side progress through to the NRL Grand Final which they ultimately lost to South Sydney. He was a member of the Prime Minister’s XIII in 2016 before playing with the World All Stars the following season. He joined the Tigers in 2018, was named captain the following year, and became the first West Tigers’ player in over a decade to be selected in the Queensland State of Origin side. He’s currently signed with the black and gold unit until the completion of the 2022 season.

But his sporting achievementsdidn’t rate all that highly on the list of interests for the St Michael’s kids. They were more curious about what else made the talented fullback tick. They wanted to know when he started playing footy – “when I was nine”, when he was going to give up footy – “maybe I’ve got a couple of years left in me, I’ll see how my body feels”, how many wins the Tigers had had – “only four last year, but we hope to improve on that this season”, how many losses – “I don’t count losses”, his favourite teammate – “Josh Reynolds, I played with him in the Bulldogs, but he’s gone to England now”, what club he liked best out of Tigers and Bulldogs – “both very good but prefer the Tigers now”, the worst game he’d ever played – “I’ve had a couple of shockers”, his best tackle – “I try and make all my tackles good”, his worst injury – “I’ve had lots, but probably my knee which I had surgery on last year”, his favourite position – “fullback”, and even how expensive his sunglasses were – “I don’t know, my wife bought them and she likes to spend money”.How a day in the life of a Balmain Tiger unfolds was also a popular question with the young ones – “we get up at 6am to go and watch a video, 9am we do two hours of field training, have lunch then do gym work from 2pm and physio for injuries from 3pm. Then we watch another film”.

Moses, who also likes to take in a few rounds of golf in his spare time, added that the Tigers would be playing a Round 22 game at Scully Park in Tamworth later in the year.

His philosophy on teaching young kids how to play league is simple – “teach them the basic skills like how to catch and pass, and have fun doing it. But most importantly, train very hard and listen to the coach”.