Mbye shows grit with gutsy performance in grand final
HE was playing in a beaten side, but Noosa product Moses Mbye showed his grit with a gutsy performance in last night's NRL grand final loss.
The 21-year-old pivot was rushed into the Bulldogs team and played out of position, but he again proved his potential despite Canterbury's 30-6 loss.
The Canterbury playmaker stood tall in the face of a rampant Rabbitohs forward pack, making 44 tackles, the most of any player in the game.
Originally expected to share dummy half duties, Mbye played the full 80 minutes in the role usually occupied by injured skipper Michael Ennis.
Although he could do little to bridge the gap between the Bulldogs and the Burgess Brothers-led Rabbitohs, Mbye's performance validated his standing as a future NRL star.
The grand final appearance capped off a brilliant rookie campaign that started in the preseason when Mbye starred for the Bulldogs in the Auckland Nines and put on a "clinic" against the Melbourne Storm in a trial game at Suncorp Stadium.
After that preseason performance noted down-talker Hasler asked reporters not to get too carried away about Mbye's
"It was his first hit-out in the big grade; he's got a big future ahead of him," Hasler said at the time.
"Don't push him at this stage. It's too early to write him up so I wouldn't be doing that."
The form of halfback Trent Hodkinson and five-eighth Josh Reynolds, who helped steer New South Wales to a streak-breaking win earlier this year, kept Mbye at 18th man for the early part of the season.
The 21-year-old, who was the Australian and Queensland under-20s five-eighth, worked diligently at training learning every position he could so he could maximise his chances of getting game time.
"You are never a one-position player, especially at my age," Mbye said after making his NRL debut in the centres against the Newcastle Knights.
"You don't know what position you are going to play," he said.
"If you are going to go a long way, you've got to be open-minded and willing to learn any position and that's the sort of mentality I go for."
That mentality paid off with Mbye playing eight NRL games throughout the season before earning a call up in the decider.