Early signs good after Moses concussion

·3-min read

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says early signs are good for concussed halfback Mitch Moses, who is racing the clock to recover in time for the Eels' sudden-death semi-final next week.

The Eels lost Moses midway through the second half of Friday's 27-8 qualifying final loss to Penrith and will be counting on him to recover as they look to avoid a fourth-straight year of semi-final heartbreak.

The Eels have bowed out in the second week of the finals for the last three seasons but would have liked their chances to buck the trend when they booked a qualifying final berth against Penrith.

Parramatta had twice defeated the Panthers this season and with a third win, would have locked in at least a preliminary final finish - their best result in nine years of Arthur's coaching tenure.

But when Moses' head collected the hip of Viliame Kikau as he attempted to tackle the Panthers second-rower on the hour-mark, the Eels faction of the Penrith Park crowd held its collective breath.

Moses appeared to have been knocked out on impact but was eventually able to rise to his feet and leave the field.

The 27-year-old played no further part in the contest but when asked about Moses' injury, Arthur said early signs were good.

"He was all right in the sheds. He said he remembered everything," Arthur told reporters.

"His health is the main priority right now. We've got a seven-day turnaround and he's pretty important to us."

The game had been a physical contest poised at 13-8 but the Panthers crossed for their third try just 15 seconds after Moses left the field, and then again in the following set.

Down 25-8, the Eels were rattled by the loss of Moses, committing five errors in the last quarter of the game, and did not have the stocks to close the gap on the Panthers.

What's more, the Eels may now have to contend without their creative architect next week, depending on when their semi-final is scheduled and how quickly Moses can recover.

Moses' opposite number Nathan Cleary put on a kicking masterclass, targeting Waqa Blake in his first game back from the five-week suspension he incurred the last time the Panthers played Parramatta.

"Nathan kicked us to death tonight," Eels co-captain Clint Gutherson said.

"We gifted them too much field position there in the second half and as good teams do, they made us pay."

The Eels' pack has been the envy of the competition this season and had the wood over the Panthers in the first half.

But the Panthers stifled the Parramatta offload game that haunted them in the sides' last two meetings and frustrated the Eels into a lacklustre second-half completion rate.

By fulltime, Parramatta had completed at just 66 per cent, compared to the 83 per cent completion rate of the Panthers, who are now only one win away from their third grand final appearance in as many years.