We cannot win this premiership without Moses, but we will not win it if we are a one person team.
As such, the upcoming rounds will probably be the making of our Parramatta Eels.
Questions were asked, answered and finally asked again after a classic encounter against the Raiders on Saturday night.
We have heard about and watched our team mature, but from my perspective they really demonstrated a willingness to work together, and to get through the difficulties of what was once again the outstanding match of the round.
For the players, there was the challenge of losing a key team member but staying focussed as an individual with their own role.
The most pleasing thing for me to see from this game was the familiarity with our attacking structures once Moses left the field. Sure we changed our attacking focus but we shifted to a structure, down the middle, that we have used so well this year.
This team knows how they want to play, and how and when they want to shift the ball. So while our kicking game won’t be the same, or our movement across the park probably won’t be as crisp, I trust they will stay united and play as a team. That desire and commitment will take them a long way.
To see young players such as Oregon, Marata and Dylan Brown step up and into a different game role over the past few games and succeed is wonderful. To see the other players have confidence in them was even better!
They give them the ball, and trust them to do their job doesn’t just happen. That trust is earned over the off season on the training field, and when players are able to step up and do what they practise under pressure.
In extra time Oregon had two runs in some sets. It was not that the others were being lazy, Oregon was making fantastic metres and getting quick play the balls. The others trusted him to hold the ball and hence they gave it to him.
When young forwards like Oregon, Marata and Ray Stone play so well you know that they are fit, driven and disciplined. Add the coaching and the opportunity to train everyday with quality, experienced forwards like Paulo, Campbell-Gillard, Matterson, Nathan Brown and Lane, and you have the perfect opportunity to improve – and improve is exactly what Oregon, Stone and Marata are doing.
Still, all of this talent, experience and effort might not have been enough on the night without the leadership of our captain, Clint Gutherson.
When Moses went off Gutherson stepped up, but it is what he did not do that most impressed me. He did not take the role of others, demand the ball or over play his hand. He maintained support, he backed up, kicked a little more when needed and he organised our defence. By stepping up, by guiding but not dominating, he demonstrated great leadership.
Finally, what a pleasure it was to beat the Raiders. They got the calls, they got the bounce and we got the injuries. These things normally happen when we play the Raiders. But this time we could deal with the obstacles and overcome them.
The next few weeks will be tough without Moses. At times we will look clunky but I look forward to watching our team, either at the ground or home, deal with the issues as they arise and work as a team. They may not win every game but I have no doubt they will turn up, work together and stay united. The transformation is this club and team is not complete but it is so very welcomed by us all.