Moses Mbye arrived at Wests Tigers in Round 16 and in no time at all, showed just why the club were so excited to secure the playmaker for the next four years.
Beginning the year in Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs colours, Mbye found himself at Wests Tigers earlier than expected to help with his former club's salary cap constraints — capping off a big year of change for the 25-year-old that also saw him switch positions from the halves to fullback for the first time in his career.
Capable of breaking any defence open, Mbye didn't take long to adjust to his new surroundings as he helped Ivan Cleary's side make a late push towards the top eight with his dominant attacking skills.
The fullback finished 2018 with six tries, five try assists, nine linebreaks and linebreak assists, but it was at Wests Tigers that his potency in attack really started to come through. In just nine games at Wests Tigers, Mbye registered as many tries and assists as he did in the rest of the year combined at the Bulldogs — showing his range of passing skills and support play to score a number of superb individual and team tries.
With a full pre-season alongside his new teammates, Mbye will certainly be even better in 2019 with a full season of fullback also behind him. How he goes linking up with former teammate Josh Reynolds (who unfortunately missed most of the season with injury) is certainly a storyline many will be eager to see.
Moses Mbye: Day One
WHAT STOOD OUT IN 2018
Rugby league is mostly the same no matter what club you're at, but switching teams and styles mid-season can't be easy for any player — let alone someone in as pivotal a position as fullback. What stood out most for Mbye in 2018 was how quickly and seamlessly he handled the switch to Wests Tigers — showing plenty of promise in his debut against the Titans at Leichhardt Oval before racking up key tries and assists in the next month as his side produced stunning upsets of the Dragons, Rabbitohs and Raiders.
WHAT'S TO COME IN 2019
Wests Tigers look to have found their long-term fullback with Mbye's ability to change the game in both attack and defence a great weapon for the side to utilise in 2019. Still learning how to play at the back, Mbye will continue to benefit greatly from the presence of Ivan Cleary and Assistant Coach Brett Hodgson in that regard in the year to come. Esan Marsters was also superb with his goal-kicking in 2018, but we might also see Mbye possibly take that on in the year to come with a full pre-season to work on his craft.
MILESTONES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Wests Tigers Debut — Round 16 vs. Gold Coast Titans (Leichhardt Oval, 01/07/18)
100 NRL Games — Round 22 vs. Canberra Raiders (GIO Stadium, 12/08/18)
Queensland State of Origin Shadow Player