Parramatta Eels star Mitchell Moses has expressed sympathy for former teammate Luke Brooks, as the Wests Tigers halfback comes under intense scrutiny as their NRL campaign continues to disappoint. The pair, once partners in the halves at the Tigers, are both in the midst of less than ideal starts to their season.
Brooks remains a close friend of Moses, with the Eels star saying he was often left stunned by Brooks' ability to tune out of the noise of the NRL world. Out of contract for 2024, Brooks' future has been a hot topic in the last year of a contract reportedly paying him more than $1m per season.
'CONFUSING': Manly under fire over detail in Tom Trbojevic update
In that time the Tigers have largely failed to fire, albeit for a variety of reasons beyond Brooks' control. However his contract has seen him come under increased scrutiny, something Moses sought to defend his good mate from.
“It’s really hard to be honest, I know the quality of player that he is,” Moses told SEN. “To see the criticism that he cops, it’s very hard to see, I’ve grown up with Brooksy since I was 10 years old and played footy with him since then.
“It’s tough to watch him go through that and see the criticism that he gets, even when we lose games it’s one to 17 players that don’t perform, it’s not just one player where it’s their fault, I think he cops a lot of unwarranted criticism.”
The Tigers face a tough ask to register their first win of the season when they face the Brisbane Broncos this weekend. The Eels meanwhile, are desperately chasing their third win against the injury-hit Bulldogs.
Luke Brooks criticism unfair; Wests Tigers
Moses' own NRL future was also making headlines earlier this year, before he signed a five-year deal to remain in Parramatta - reportedly to the tune of $1.2 million per season. He said the level of scrutiny around Brooks was somewhat unwarranted, adding that he'd struggle in a similar situation.
“He gives you nothing, I ask him, ‘How you going’, (he says), ‘Yeah I’m good, I’m good’, he doesn’t see it, he doesn’t look at it, he’s a pretty relaxed bloke,” Moses said of his conversations with Brooks.
“It would take a toll on you, to be honest… he doesn’t really give much away if I’m getting nothing out of him, I don’t think anyone else, he’s pretty strong in this aspect.
“If it keeps going it might be tough, I don’t know how he does it to be honest.”
Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens had earlier accused Luke Brooks' critics of bullying the halfback, fearing nothing will ever be good enough to appease his detractors. Sheens has been a staunch defender of Brooks since his arrival back at Concord last year as a football director, and said the criticism was unfair.
"He's been copping it for the last 18 months, almost to the point of bullying, even by you guys. The media are giving it to him," Sheens told reporters. "I've been happy with the way he is progressing. Two weeks ago he scored a good try, set one up.
"I thought he was good for us last week, better than the other halves to be quite honest. I don't know what he has to do to get people off his back. My attitude is keep playing footy and keep working on his game.
"There is nothing major wrong with his game, it's just everyone expects him to score five tries a game for some reason."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.