Luke Brooks has revealed his desire to play alongside longtime friend Mitchell Moses once again, with rumours surrounding the Parramatta star’s return to the Tigers heating up.
The 28-year-old has been linked with a return to his former club in 2024, with the Tigers and Eels the only two clubs seemingly in the race for his signature after the Bulldogs pulled out.
Moses has established himself as one of the best halves in the NRL in recent years, guiding the Eels to a grand final appearance in 2022 and starring for Lebanon in the World Cup.
His potential return to Concord could be the final piece in the puzzle for the Tigers, who have recruited a stack of representative-level forwards heading into the upcoming season.
MORE: NRL Round 1 predicted team lists | Bulldogs poach Broncos young gun
Speaking to the media on Monday, Brooks opened up on a potential reunion with Moses and the difference at the club since his exit back in 2017.
“We obviously played a lot of footy growing up together and had a few years in first grade…I’d love to play with him again,” he said.
“When we came in, we were young and didn’t really know how to play in first grade. Now that we’ve learned a lot, I think we will be good together.
“I’ve spoken to him a couple times and told him what the vibe was like and how much it has changed – I’ve been selling the place to him.
“I’m not too sure what his thoughts are, but I think he’d be a great addition to our side and I’d love to play with him again.
“We’ve sort of spoke before about how we would like to have a chance to play together again – whether that’s now or not, I don’t know, but hopefully he makes a decision soon, the one that’s best for him.”
Brooks seeking a reunion with his close mate would lead to a move into the No.6 jumper long-term, with Moses unlikely to want to play five-eighth if he was to leave Parramatta.
While the enigmatic Moses has flourished since leaving Wests, the same can’t be said for Brooks, who is yet to play a finals game in his decade-long stint in the top grade.
But with a new coaching staff led by Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall, plus the likes of David Klemmer and Isaiah Papali’i joining the forward pack, Brooks is confident the side can turn things around in 2023.
“There’s plenty of smiling faces here and everyone is keen to rip in and have a good season…everyone is excited and I know I’m pumped to start playing footy again,” Brooks said.
“We are confident that we can [play finals]. You just have to look at some of the players we’ve brought over in our forward pack – Klemmer, Bateman, Ice and Api at hooker.
“They are real quality players that have done it all in the game and I’m looking forward to playing behind those guys.
“They are really going to help our young forwards coming through – we’ve got some really good young forwards in Fonua Pole and Justin Matamua that had a bit of experience in first grade last year and are only going to benefit from those senior boys coming.”
Brooks has been heavily criticised by the media and the club’s fans for his on-field performances in recent years, with the Tigers slumping to the wooden spoon last season.
But the 28-year-old admits he doesn’t read much into it and is used to the negative talk surrounding his game.
“I’m fine – I just try not to read it, I’m not on social media so I don’t see too much of it,” Brooks said.
“It’s a part of it now and it doesn’t really bother me too much. I think I’m just used to it, ever since I started there has always been something.
“You realise that not everyone is a fan of you and there’s always going to be someone that is saying something.
“That being said, when I’m walking down at the shops or something, there are so many Tigers fans that are sticking up for me and saying they are backing me.
“You’ve got to take the good with the bad.”
Where will Mitchell Moses be playing in 2024?
The front-runner to sign Mitchell Moses at this stage is the club that let him go five years ago – the 2022 wooden-spoon winners, Wests Tigers.
The Sporting News understands that Moses has met with Tigers officials and the club are set to offer him a five-year deal worth approximately $1.4 million per season.
The 28-year-old would be coming to a club on the up, with quality signings such as Isaiah Papali’i and Api Koroisau boosting their roster and a brand-new centre of excellence a huge bonus.
Parramatta won’t be giving up without a fight though, with reports from The Daily Telegraph revealing that Moses has already been tabled an offer worth over $1 million per year to remain at the Eels, but is yet to put pen to paper and is looking to test the waters elsewhere.
The decision from the Eels to extend five-eighth Dylan Brown with a deal that includes a lengthy player option could make it difficult for them to increase the money for Moses.
After losing star players in Mahoney and Papali’i, the side does look like they could slide down the ladder and the potential loss of Moses would only add to that.