A disappointed Clint Gutherson says the Dyldam Parramatta Eels will keep fighting through the end of the 2016 season, despite their 22-18 loss to the Penrith Panthers in Round 19.
In the absence of key playmaker Corey Norman, and following a number of injuries to Parramatta’s playmaking stocks, Gutherson was moved into the halves to partner Jeff Robson for the Sunday afternoon clash, making him the seventh player to start a game in the halves for the Eels so far in 2016.
“[The last time I played there] was probably Under 13s for my local team,” Gutherson told Triple M NRL.
“I haven’t really played there, I just got thrown in it this week. It was good getting my hands on the ball a bit more, but I guess its a bit more defence, so my shoulder will be bit sore tomorrow. I’m used to being on the sting (the wing).”
The Panthers came back from an 18-6 halftime deficit with three quick tries in 12 minutes to reel in the Blue and Gold and post a win, but Gutherson said the result - and any ongoing media speculation about the Eels - wouldn’t undermine the side’s commitment each week.
“You play to get the 2 points, and it’s a bit disappointing how we came out in the second half and let them back into it,” Gutherson said.
“It’s disappointing, but we’ll turn up next week.”
“As a strong group of 35-40 boys there at the club and all the coaching staff, we’re all pretty tight, so we just block it out as much as possible. When we’re on the training paddock we don’t even think about it, we’re just focussed on footy. It didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to at the end there, but we’re just going to keep sticking at it.”
Head Coach Brad Arthur admitted that with the side’s lack of troops, Gutherson may have to run out again in the halves for the Blue and Gold.
“Gutho’s a footballer,” Arthur said.
“I think we could put him anywhere and he just competes. He was good, kept the plan simple, and the good thing about it is he executed and he stuck to it. He just did what he was asked to do.”
“He’s probably put his hand up for next week at this stage if we don’t get any players back, but I think maybe later on down the track his probably best position is fullback.”