Clint Gutherson has addressed the furore surrounding Parramatta's pursuit of a fullback, declaring the situation has been "blown out of proportion". News emerged on Sunday that the Eels were canvasing the rugby league world for a game-breaking fullback to add to their team, however it was stressed that it wouldn't necessarily be bad news for Gutherson.
On Monday night it came to light that the Eels are looking for a potential bench piece who could provide an X-factor off the bench, rather than a high-profile fullback who would push Gutherson to another position. Journalist Michael Chammas, who broke the news on Sunday, reported on Monday night on '100% Footy' that the Eels are looking at Gold Coast young gun Jayden Campbell - who has been unable to crack a starting spot at the Titans.
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A source close to the situation also told Yahoo Sport Australia that the likes of South Sydney's Blake Taaffe, Kaeo Weekes from Manly and Connor Tracey from the Sharks are the type of player that the Eels are looking for. Discussing the situation for the first time on Tuesday, Gutherson told Sky Sports radio that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Eels win.
“We just had a conversation," Gutherson said about Eels coach Brad Arthur. "We’ve got three spots top fill in our top 30 and we were just sort of going back and forth with what we need and where we sort of want to go in the next few seasons as well and I just said, ‘Let’s just look at everyone’.
“I’m just there to win games. I’ve always said I want to win and love playing footy and want to win games. Obviously this came out in the last 24 hours.
"I think it’s been blown out of proportion, to be honest. I said to Brad I’d be happy to do anything to win games of footy, as would anyone else in the team. It’s probably been blown out of the water a little bit too much but it’s just one of those things that once the media and player managers gets a hold of it, it takes off and I think that’s what it’s doing now.”
Clint Gutherson willing to do whatever it takes for Eels
The Eels captain said he'd be willing to move to the centres if it meant the team was stronger as a result. “I’d be open to it, but Brad said to me they’re not just going to do it to do it. It’s one of those things, they’re going to make sure if it does happen it’s going to be the right player, but from all I’ve heard there’s been no talks with anyone else yet.
“So, I’m just going about my business and I think I’m only getting into the best part of my career now. So it’s going to be hard to replace me and I’m going to keep that spot as long as I can.”
A source close to the situation told Yahoo Sport Australia: "There's some money to spend under the cap this year and if they could get a Connor Watson-type player they might have a look. Or look at players of first grade quality who aren’t getting a go at the moment.
"Newcastle did well with Lachie Miller for example. He wasn't going to get much of a run at Cronulla this year but has that bit of X-factor about him and the Knights look a lot sharper with him there. Kaeo Weekes is a quality fullback but won’t get past Turbo at Manly, Blake Taaffe is in a similar position at Souths and Connor Tracey can’t crack it for a start at Cronulla."
Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and James Graham have all expressed their disbelief that the Eels would be looking for a fullback considering Gutherson's presence. The captain led the Eels to the grand final last year, however they were no match for the red-hot Panthers and were blown off the park.
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