Members of the Parramatta Eels squad returned for pre-season training early last week, including Blue & Gold Clint Gutherson.

During today’s media press conference, where the Parramatta Eels unveiled ALAND Developments as their new Major Sponsor for the 2018 and 2019 NRL season, Gutherson says it’s good to be back out on the training field.

“Last week we started up on Monday and it’s good to see a few of the boys last week,” Gutherson said.

“You sort of don’t realise you’re going to miss them when your gone in the break, but you do. It’s good to be back training and ripping in.”

Gutherson suffered a season ending knee injury against the Wests Tigers in Round 20 last season, and the fullback had updates on his rehab progress and returning to the field.

“It’s good. I started running last week, did my first field run on Monday so its feeling good, I just have to slowly keep going,” he said.

“I get a bit too excited and try to push it a bit much so I’ve got to slow down, listen to the physios and the staff here, but it’s feeling good and it’s getting there slowly.”

Gutherson has his eyes set on returning in Round One of the 2018 season.

“Pushing for round one, but if it’s not right I’m not going to push it. I’ll take my time and get it right.” Gutherson said.

“It’s a long season so if you miss one or two at the start you’d rather do that then taking the risk of coming back too early and re-injuring.”

“So I’ll take my time, but I’m pushing for round one and I’m very hopeful.” Gutherson added.

It was a difficult few weeks, coming to terms with his injury, but Gutherson says it helped him realise that there are other important aspects that contribute to your footy.

“It was hard, when I first did it, it was pretty hard, and it took a while to sink in. Few tears here and there, but you’ve got to move on,” he said.

“You realise it’s such a small part of your life and what you do outside of football is much more important to being good at football and enjoying it more. I moved on pretty quickly and am now looking forward to 2018.”

 “Just missing out not playing, you want to be out there putting your body on the line for the boys and playing against the best teams,” Gutherson added.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get to play [the back end of the year] but hopefully next year we can go a few steps forward.”

With pre-season well under way, the squad is focused on improving on last season’s campaign.

 “We weren’t happy with how we finished, we went bang bang there in the semis and we spoke about that at the end of year,” Gutherson said.

“That year is done so we got to look forward, to look at what we did good last year but there is still heaps of stuff we can improve on. So were just looking forward at starting that.”

“As I said we went bang bang out of the semis, that’s something you definitely don’t want to do. We’ve got a lot of improvement to do, if we can take it to next level and make it a couple of games further, that’s where our improvement will lie.” Gutherson added.

“We thought we were going to be there this year, we were very confident going into the finals and unfortunately for us it just didn’t go our way.”

“Another pre-season, another year to play with pretty much the same team. We are looking forward to what next year holds.”

And with plenty of recent media speculation around former Eels Jarryd Hayne returning to the Blue & Gold, Gutherson said there had not been much talk on the issue around the squad.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone about that to be honest. He’s still a Titan’s player next year from what I’m reading so if he comes he comes, if he doesn’t he doesn’t.”

“He’s done everything, He’s one of the best players in the world but as I said, he’s a Titan next year and as it stands he still will be.”

“We are not looking into him coming at the moment, that’s all I can say on that.”

“I’d like to play fullback, I enjoyed fullback this year but it doesn’t matter I just like playing and whoever gets that spot is going to do a job and I just want to be in the team.” Gutherson added.

“If I’m in the team I’m happy. I can go out there and do my own thing and just play footy.”