The NRL world has lauded Clint Gutherson after the Parramatta Eels fullback produced a moment of magic to stop a try against the Rabbitohs on Friday night. The Eels bounced back to stun the NRL with a huge 36-16 win over the Rabbitohs on Friday night and it wasn't without the help of Gutherson's brilliance.
In the first half, Cody Walker kicked in behind the Eels defence as Alex Johnston charged towards the ball. As the Rabbitohs winger dived to gather the ball just short of the line, Gutherson came rushing across.
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The Eels fullback then planted his foot on the ball, which got in between Johnston's arm and the ball. The winger then moved past the ball without gathering it. This saw Gutherson save an almost certain try in remarkable fashion.
Gutherson's decision could have gone horribly wrong. The fullback could have got his ankle caught or made contact with Johnston, which could have seen a penalty try awarded. However, the fullback timed it perfectly.
“Clint Gutherson, take a bow,” NRL great Cooper Cronk said. “Look at the effort of Clint Gutherson. Foot on the ball denies Alex Johnston there. That’s a hell of an effort from Gutherson.”
“The more you watch it, it’s brilliant from Gutherson because he actually just places his foot on top of the ball which in the end Johnston puts his hand on,” Greg Alexander added.
Arguably NRL's greatest ever fullback Billy Slater added: "Incredible", after claiming he had 'never seen this before". Fans agreed with glowing praise for the fullback for the moment of brilliance.
That’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen on a football field. Clint Gutherson you are a magician 🤯 #NRL
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) May 19, 2023
— MyNameIsDaniel (@DansOnlinePromo) May 19, 2023
What an incredible play by Gutherson, but gee that could have gone horribly wrong and he could have broken his ankle to save the try.
— Louise Fernance 🇦🇺🏴 (@weezie8219) May 19, 2023
That was ridiculously lucky from Gutherson that he didn’t make contact with Johnston.
Not really sure that is how a Fullback is meant to do it.
— Dan Helson (@HelFisher23) May 19, 2023
Penrith lead after Rabbitohs woes
The result means Penrith will enter the State of Origin period on top of the ladder for the third straight season, claiming first spot off Souths. Almost everything appeared set up for the Rabbitohs in their first home game at the new Allianz Stadium.
With five First Nations players in their side, the Bunnies have not been beaten in Indigenous Round since 2015. They have also had the wood over the Eels in recent years, winning all six games since 2020 with an average margin of 23.7 points.
The Bunnies pushed their way to lead 16-14 early in the second half, and that point it looked likely it would be the same story again. Parramatta were down to a two-man bench, while Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell were showing glimpses of brilliance to help fellow Indigenous star Alex Johnston to a double.
But ultimately, the Eels needed it more to climb from 14th spot on the ladder to within four points of the top eight.
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