Moylan's rise no shock to Raiders halves
Raiders halves Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin can lay claim to being the best judges of Matt Moylan's evolution in recent months.
Ahead of the Raiders' do-or-die semi-final clash against the Panthers on Saturday, Sezer said Moylan's form had been "exceptional" of late.
The Panthers have won their past six games and a big part of that has been Moylan's playmaking impact in the frontline, despite remaining in his usual fullback role.
Moylan's haul of 20 try assists this year has come as no surprise to Sezer, who has opposed Moylan in the halves on numerous occasions dating back to SG Ball when Sezer was a Bulldogs junior.
"He was always playing out at Penrith at five-eighth for the majority of the juniors," Sezer told NRL.com.
"I remember coming up against him plenty of times. He's always been a skilful player and I guess the older he gets the better he's become.
"Moylan's obviously always played in the halves but since his transition to fullback in his senior career, and with Nathan Cleary and Bryce Cartwright in the halves now, he's had to take a bit of control there.
"I don't think he's out of position though. He's taken more of a leadership role on board by guiding their young halves."
Raiders five-eighth and former Panther Austin knows best when it comes to Moylan's development.
Austin played alongside Moylan in Penrith's junior rep sides, through to the under-20s in 2009-2011 and eventually in the Intrust Super Premiership and NRL.
The Doonside Roos junior believes Moylan's Panthers outfit requires him to ball-play more than any other fullback in the competition due to the inexperience of his side's halves.
"I always thought [Moylan] toiled away in [reserve grade] a lot longer than what he should have," Austin said.
"But I guess in the end, it's a formula that's worked really well for him.
"Obviously he sat back and watched a lot of his mates debut a lot earlier than he did. But he certainly has had the last laugh."
Meanwhile, Sezer said the Raiders weren't content with how their season has panned out so far and were hell-bent on pushing the club to its first ever preliminary final in the NRL era.
"We had a really good opportunity last week and lost, so it's back to business now," Sezer said of the Raiders' 16-14 qualifying final loss to the Sharks.
"We want to win. We haven't been dwelling.
"Cronulla did a good job of nullifying our attack and we didn't get as many quick play-the-balls as we would've liked and have had this year.
"Hopefully we can force our hand a bit now against the Panthers and get our attack flowing again."
This article first appeared on NRL.com