Clint Gutherson stars as Eels cruise to dominant win over Dragons
If Mitchell Moses is worth A$800,000 a season, what is Clint Gutherson worth to Parramatta?
It's a fair question given the Eels' everywhere man's performance in a 24-10 NRL victory over St George Illawarra on Sunday afternoon.
The 22-year-old – who was shifted from the halves to accommodate Moses' mid-season arrival – had a double to go with 193 running metres in a brilliant first-half display.
He finished with 216 metres in the bank alongside a personal tally of 14 points in a commanding performance at fullback for the Eels.
It came after Arthur decided to shift Bevan French to the right flank to make way for the late inclusion of Michael Jennings at right centre, with both scoring tries in the second half.
With Moses coming to the club on hefty two-season deal to partner the equally well paid Corey Norman in the halves, it's Gutherson who continues to be coach Brad Arthur's bargain basement gem, regardless of what number he wears on his back.
The win was soured, however, by a potential knee ligament injury to hooker Kaysa Pritchard, who was taken from the field on a medi-cab 16 minutes before halftime.
The Eels managed two more tries in his absence but the loss of their No 9 could have big impact on the rest of their season.
The Dragons were without their own star No 1 Josh Dugan who, along with back-rower Tyson Frizell, was absent on Origin duty, but it's unlikely either could've lifted their side who were sluggish out of the blocks for the second straight week.
It saw them sink to their fifth loss in their last seven outings and leaves coach Paul McGregor without a victory since re-signing for two more seasons last week.
It will also see them head into Sunday's clash with Newcastle at Kogarah under some pressure and desperately hoping Dugan and Frizell come through Origin II unscathed.
Gutherson opened the scoring after just three minutes when he latched onto a deflected offload from Kenny Edwards to post the first try.
He went the longer route for his second, stopping an in-field kick from a runaway Kalifa Faifai Loa with his boot and scooping up the scraps to race 80 metres and extend the lead 13 minutes before the break.
A try to Nene MacDonald off a clever flick-pass from stand-in No 1 Jason Nightingale briefly stemmed the flow for the visitors, ensuring they trailed by just eight at halftime.
It brought only short relief with Jennings scooping up an errant Tim Lafai offload and darting 50 metres to score eight minutes after the resumption.
French won the race to a deft grubber from Moses 10 minutes later to extend the the lead beyond three converted tries after Gutherson added the extras.
Paul Vaughan got across 17 minutes remaining but it did little more than bring respectability to the final scoreline.
- Illawarra Mercury