‘King’ Clint Gutherson: Why Parramatta Eels can win the comp

Ask Clint Gutherson if he still believes what he said in the lead-up to the finals and the Eels skipper doesn’t even try and dance away from it.

You want to know why Parramatta can win the comp this year?

Because the ‘King’ has spoken.

Clint Gutherson that is, not Wally Lewis.

You ask the Eels skipper if he still believes what he said in the lead up to the finals and he doesn’t even try and dance away.

It is not arrogance. It is confidence.

Make no mistake, there is a very big difference between the two.

“It is exciting,’ Gutherson said in the wake of Sunday’s record-breaking 58-0 hammering of Brisbane.

Clint Gutherson is confident the Eels can go all the way. Picture: AAP
Clint Gutherson is confident the Eels can go all the way.

“As I said a couple of weeks ago, everyone is backing Melbourne and Roosters and stuff like that to win the comp.

“We just have to keep going out and have that belief and hopefully put more performances like that on.

“We know they are not going to come like that every week. We just have to try and do our best.”

Midway through last year Gutherson was almost in tears after a loss to Newcastle when the Eels were just about at rock bottom as a club.

He was the NRL’s youngest captain thrown into the job before his time and he was totally out of his depth.

He was put in charge of a team that had one of the worst discipline records in the NRL but the reason Brad Arthur chose Gutherson was because he had no one within the club more capable of doing it better.

Arthur’s belief in Gutherson has been justified.

Clint Gutherson and Reed Mahoney celebrate Parramatta’s victory over Brisbane. Picture: Getty Images
Clint Gutherson and Reed Mahoney celebrate Parramatta’s victory over Brisbane.

While there were some incredibly tough times on the way to claiming last year’s wooden spoon, fast forward to Sunday night and Gutherson had emerged from the pain to be standing there inside the dressing sheds at Bankwest Stadium answering questions as to why the Eels could win the comp.

Such has been the dramatic transformation the Eels now have every right to be heading to Melbourne for this Saturday’s sudden death semi-final with absolute belief that they have a team capable of upsetting the runaway minor premiers.

And they have only themselves to thank for where they are today.

The last time the Eels played the Storm was back in round nine during Magic Round when they were hammered 64-10.

Arthur labelled it “soft” and “embarrassing” at the time.

But don’t think for a minute that the side that tore Brisbane to shreds in the 11-tries-to-nil annihilation is a vastly different team to that which capitulated back in May.

“I think we have won 12 of our last 14 or 12 of our last 15,” Gutherson said.

Eels fans cheer during the NRL elimination final against the Broncos at Bankwest Stadium. Picture: AAP
Eels fans cheer during the NRL elimination final against the Broncos at Bankwest Stadium.

“That goes a long way in building that trust.

“Tonight everyone out there was doing their role.

“Next week is going to take it to another level. We just have to make sure we are ready.”

Ferguson added: “The most pleasing thing out of that whole game is that we made errors, it was just the reaction from the blokes.

“We didn’t fall into the trap of making more errors. We sort of just went back to basics.

“We just backed each other.”

Like Gutherson, Arthur knows the talent within his squad is capable of going all the way.

But taking on the Storm at home is the game’s greatest challenge, and no one will underestimate that.

“We are playing the best team in the competition at their home ground but we are going to go there and give it everything we can,” Arthur said.

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