The Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Friday 28 July in Round 20 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, and Blue & Gold outside back Brad Takairangi has backed the depth in the Eels squad to cover for the loss of the in-form Clint Gutherson.
Gutherson was ruled out with a season ending knee injury earlier in the week, and Takairangi said the entire squad was feeling for the much loved teammate.
“He is in good spirits, he came in this morning. Obviously everyone is a bit disappointed but he is a good kid and he will be fine,” Takairangi said.
“It was heartbreaking to hear. In the sheds after the game, it felt like we lost the game, nobody was cheering at all.”
“He is a big part of why we are here at the moment and hopefully we can go on and do a good job.”
With Gutherson to play no further part in the 2017 season, Takairangi says that whilst it is a loss, he welcomed the return of Bevan French to the number one jersey.
“We have awesome depth. Bevan was our first choice fullback at the start of the year, and he gets to go back there and do his thing. Even though it is a loss losing ‘Gutho’, we have ‘Bevvy’ going back to the back and he will do a really good job there.” Takairangi said.
“They are two different players. Bevan is a freak of nature. Bevan is pumped, it’s his preferred position and we are looking forward to playing with him at the back.”
“We have a lot of depth in every position including Hoffy and Somi who are proven first graders; one has played Test football and the other has won the comp, so whoever comes in there will definitely do a good job for us and we are confident.” He added.
“Losing ‘Gutho’ is a big loss but Bevan out the back there, he is a freak, who will bring his own little flavour to us.”
Takairangi said the side is a close tight-knit group and he has plenty of confidence in whoever will play in the Eels backline in the remainder of the season
“I have been to a couple of teams now and this is definitely the tightest group we have got. It starts from the top, and Brad does a really good job in keeping us close and tight. We are all one big group, really good mates and it makes a difference on the field.” Takairangi said.
“Knowing that the bloke next to you is not going to let you down, and having that sort of confidence and trust it helps a long way.”
The Eels take on the third placed Brisbane Broncos this week, and Takairangi knows the clash will be a good test for the Blue & Gold.
Whilst the Eels currently sit in seventh position, the outside back knows the side needs to start producing complete 80 minute performances to match it with the top placed teams.
“That’s the best thing about us, is that we are sitting in seventh and we haven’t played for 80 minutes one game this whole year. We are still building towards that but we will need to do that this week against the Broncos,” Takairangi said.
“The Broncos will be a good measuring stick for us, to see where we are at. Boyd coming back, he is a world class player, so we will have to be on our toes.”
“Jimmy the Jet is really good to play against, he is a friend of mine, and I’m really looking forward to playing against him and hopefully we can get one over him.”
The Eels kick off against the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Friday 28 July in Round 21 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, kick off at 7:50pm.