NEW Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary is adamant five-eighth Mitchell Moses will play hard for his teammates against the Cowboys on Saturday night and for the rest of the year, despite asking for an immediate release.
Moses has signed a two-year deal with Parramatta from next season and wanted to link with the Eels this year, but the Tigers rejected the request.
It continues a week of turmoil for the Tigers after the sacking of Jason Taylor just three rounds into the season.
Asked if Moses was still fully committed to the cause at Friday's captain's run, Cleary said: "I haven't seen anything there to suggest otherwise.
"The reality is there's been a lot of distractions but from what I've seen, he's focused and looking forward to playing."
The Tigers issued a statement this week confirming Moses had asked for a release, and had taken his contract offer off the table to focus on re-signing James Tedesco and Aaron Woods.
All eyes will be on the trio as they weigh up interest from the likes of the Bulldogs and Roosters.
"We took the (Moses) contract off the table with a view to looking at it again," Cleary said.
"This is purely a risk assessment for the club with what was forecast with the changing of the salary cap.
"These contracts have been on the table for a long time, there's a lot of money involved, we have to do some prioritising.
"Mitchell has a contract as part of this team and I would expect him to play as he could and I'm sure that will happen."
Cleary admitted being in Townsville and away from the Sydney fish bowl would help his team focus purely on football against a Cowboys side that has won four of five games this season.
"In a way it's been good to come up here and get out of Sydney," Cleary said.
"We've got a game on Saturday and at the end of the day the performance on the weekend is the window where everyone else sees the club.
"I don't know what morale was like before, but it feels like it's pretty good in there right now.
"The boys play and they're the ones who can go out with some more certainty and look forward to doing what they do best, we're taking on a very good Cowboys team."
The Cowboys were ambushed 30-8 at home by Manly in round three when they were also under extreme media heat, and coach Paul Green hasn't wasted any chance to remind his side of that fact.
He described the clash as a "danger game" earlier this week and is preparing for a Tigers backlash.
"You go back to the Manly game - I'm not saying we took them lightly, we were maybe a little tired there, but some of our little efforts weren't there in that game," Green said.
"It shouldn't take too much to remind them of what we're talking about when we talk about complacency."
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