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Mbye pounces into selection frame for injury-hit Maroons

As the state of Queensland desperately searches for fit footballers for Origin I, forgotten man Moses Mbye issued a timely reminder of his worth in Wests Tigers' disposal of Penrith on Friday night.

The Tigers captain backed up to finish off the work done by Luke Brooks and Ryan Matterson to score the first of his team's six tries in the 30-4 win, but it was his desperation in defence in the second half that drew highest praise from his coach.

With Maroons selectors monitoring the ankle injury to Daly Cherry-Evans and fans praying for a Cameron Smith about-face, Mbye thrust his name forward as a potential solution to the utility position on the interchange bench.

Equipped to play fullback, in the halves or at hooker, Mbye provides the versatility Queensland coach Kevin Walters will be looking to implement into his team.

Described as "a natural leader" by Walters four years ago, Mbye was a member of the Queensland Emerging Origin squad in 2016 and 2017 but told that he didn't consider himself the forgotten man of the Maroons' injury crisis.

"Not at all. Origin is a reward and a privilege and comes off the back of quality form at your club," Mbye said.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Panthers

"For me it's about concentrating on my form here at the Tigers and leading this team to get as many wins as we can.

"Those sorts of things are a reward and they come off the back of the form that you show at your club.

"I'm just going to concentrate on performing well here at club land for the Tigers and hopefully string some wins together."

While he picked up the opening try and very nearly had a second to start the second half, it was two separate try-saving tackles on Penrith winger Josh Mansour that most pleased Tigers coach Michael Maguire.

The first was a classical cover-defending tackle on a runaway Mansour that took the Panthers speedster over the sideline and the second a full-body commitment to crash into Mansour and jolt the ball free in the corner.

Maguire explained in the post-match press conference that Mbye had been challenged personally in recent weeks, the skipper happy he was able to help sniff out any sense of a Penrith comeback.

"Over the last couple of weeks when I've been presented moments like one-on-one tackles and things like that I haven't executed as good as I know I can,” Mbye explained.

"Me and ‘Madge’ [Maguire] obviously work very closely and that was something that we really wanted to focus on, competing hard and getting myself in those positions to make the plays.

"It was good to be able to make that play at that certain time and now it's about being consistent with it. That's what we're required to do.”

Where could Magic Round be held in future?

Due to face Melbourne in Melbourne next Thursday, the task of recording back-to-back wins for the first time since round two is a challenging one for the Wests Tigers but one Mbye says they must be able to meet if they hope to play finals football in 2019.

"There's certainly some inconsistency around our performances and is something that we have spoken about,” said Mbye, who ran for 122 metres and had four tackle breaks against the Panthers.

"In terms of the mental capacity of our team, a big part of it comes down to our leadership.

"To have Benji in the camp and back out on the field with us is a big bonus for us. That's the benefit you get from having players with experience and leadership qualities in your side.

"It's something that we definitely have to address because we can't be going win-loss-win-loss throughout the whole year.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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