Parramatta Eels halfback Mitchell Moses made the ultimate sacrifice for his teammates, electing to miss the birth of his first child to line up in Friday’s preliminary final against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.
The 28-year-old put the team first with a grand final spot on the line and his decision paid off, with the Eels securing a remarkable 24-20 comeback victory at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Watch every match of the Rugby League World Cup LIVE & Exclusive to Fox Sports, on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Moses and the Eels flew up to Townsville on Thursday with partner Bri Gardoni beginning contractions on Thursday evening.
Gardoni gave birth to a baby girl on Friday, but Moses made the huge sacrifice to stay in northern Queensland for the preliminary final.
Fox League presenter Yvonne Sampson said: “It’s a huge decision for any player to make – to miss the birth of your first child or to play in the biggest game of your career.”
Former Melbourne Storm star Cooper Cronk continued: “The most important day of Mitch’s life, he’s got football and family coming together all in one day.
“Now there’s the added pressure of having his first baby coming into the world today. If he can’t do it today, he’s probably never going to do it.”
Speaking to Channel 9, Moses revealed he met his daughter on FaceTime.
“The whole week has been a rollercoaster. I lost my grandmother last week and we laid her to rest on Monday,” he said.
“I’m welcoming my first child over FaceTime for the first time deadset four hours ago and now I’m playing in a Grand Final next week.
“I’ll be getting the boys on the plane as quick as possible so I can go meet my little one. We’ve got two names but she didn’t want to make the call by herself so she’s waiting for me to get there and then we’ll make the call.”
The Eels will face either the Penrith Panthers or South Sydney Rabbitohs in their first grand final since 2009. They haven’t tasted ultimate NRL success since way back in 1986.
“It’s good, I’m really happy for the boys – we made a lot of sacrifices along the way,“ Eels coach Brad Arthur told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“Mitchell Moses made a massive sacrifice for his teammates today and over the last couple of days. He didn’t get to see the birth of his daughter – that’s huge.
“It was never really a process or a thought for him – we got on the plane yesterday, Bri was close the other day and I spoke to him today and I said ‘we will send you home’.
“I don’t want to be rude, because the birth of his new daughter is so important to him and his family, but the other part of his family is his mates.
“At least we made sure it was worth it.”
Moses was spotted cradling a ball in the change rooms and Broncos legend Gorden Tallis joked it was as if he was pretending to hold a newborn baby.
“When he was holding the footy it looked like he was nursing something already,” he said on Fox League.
“Sitting in the sheds and he was practising already.”
Originally published as ‘Huge decision’: NRL world in awe of Mitchell Moses’ family sacrifice