Moses could handle Origin with one game lead-in: Paulo

Junior Paulo believes Mitchell Moses could pull on a NSW State of Origin jersey with just a solitary warm-up game for Parramatta, as Blues coach Michael Maguire searches for a fit halfback. 

The Eels have opted to play the long game with their prized halfback, leaving Moses at home for a Magic Round meeting with Melbourne on Sunday.

The 13th-placed Eels (3-6) have desperately missed Moses’s influence this season and are likely to wheel him out of the treatment room for their round-12 clash with South Sydney in 10 days' time.

Moses’s delayed return from a foot injury means the No.7 may have just one game to convince Maguire he is the man to lead the Blues in the series opener in Sydney on June 5. 

Maguire has already lost Nathan Cleary for the series, while Cronulla playmaker Nicho Hynes has a calf complaint and has just one forgettable Origin cameo to his name.

Maguire will name his side the day after the Eels face Souths, and Paulo says Moses could step into Origin with ease. 

“He's proven himself there, we saw that last year when he got the call,'' Paulo said.

Junior Paulo (centre).
The main focus for Junior Paulo (centre) at the moment is ensuring a victory for Parramatta.

“Mitch, his main focus is just getting himself back on the pitch. 

“I don't think he's probably even worried about that (Origin). It's mostly just getting himself ready and getting himself on the field for us here (at Parramatta).

“If he does get the call-up, you definitely know that Mitch was capable of owning that arena, and he's definitely shown that he can.” 

Paulo was loath to address his own Origin hopes after the Eels’ rocky start.

The Samoan international was a regular under Maguire’s predecessor Brad Fittler, but Parramatta’s poor form and the prevalence of more mobile forwards at Origin level may hamper the 123kg Paulo’s chances. 

“I haven't even been thinking about it,” said the Eels prop. 

“All I want to do is get a win, that’s my main focus week in week out.

“If it does happen, I'd definitely take it with both hands like I always do. 

“You really want to earn those jerseys, but right now for us it’s trying to find a way to win. 

“We (Maguire and I) have had conversations throughout the year here and there.” 

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