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We had to release Moses: Tigers' Cleary

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/05/2017 Steve Zemek

Mitchell Moses' lacklustre efforts over the past fortnight forced Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary to finally grant the playmaker an early release from his NRL contract.

The talented five-eighth will line up for Parramatta on Saturday against Canberra after receiving an immediate release from the final year of his deal with the Tigers.

In 15th and 3-7, the Tigers' season has run aground and Moses' departure only worsens their cause.

While Cleary wished Moses well, he took a subtle dig at his attitude and commitment over his final fortnight at Concord.

Before the side flew out to Brisbane for his side's clash with the Broncos, Cleary fronted the media to defend his decision.

Cleary first received a request from Moses' manager for a release two days after he took over in April from Jason Taylor but, up until Tuesday, had knocked back his bid to join the Eels a season early.

Cleary said his hand was forced after Moses' lacklustre performances over the past two weeks, including missing eight tackles last Friday against South Sydney.

"The last time I spoke about (Moses' situation) publicly was after the Bulldogs where I thought he played well," Cleary said.

"I mentioned that I hadn't seen anything to suggest in his performances or preparation that he wanted to leave. And that was the thing I was going to go by. Again, there was no benefit to our club for a release.

"I don't know if it's a coincidence but things changed after that. His last two performances and general demeanour suggested he just wasn't happy and the logical conclusion was for us to part ways and that's what we've done."

Cleary also slammed Moses' manager Isaac Moses, accusing him of: "Manipulations of the media to drive a personal agenda".

Isaac Moses complained to the NRL and Rugby League Players' Association over concerns about player welfare after Cleary reportedly told the No.6 he would be granted a release before last week's game with the Rabbitohs, only to change his mind.

Cleary defended the club's commitment to welfare and accused Isaac Moses of leaking information to get his client a release.

"I'd like to discuss the accusation around the way we've handled this situation. We take well being very seriously at this club and the track record at the Tigers has been very strong, including the last 12 months," Cleary said.

"I take it very seriously as a coach and it's a huge part of what we do.

"I've been transparent and forthright with my conversations with Mitchell. They're personal and I'll leave it at that. It's a bit disappointing some of those conversations have ended up in the media - I don't want that to happen from my end."

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