It was one of the biggest WTF moments of the NRL season. Late Sunday a story broke that Parramatta was pursuing a fullback to add some X-factor to a side that has been knocking on the premiership window for years without being able to jemmy it open.
Yes, a fullback. The very position the very capable, very popular and very committed Clint Gutherson already holds down.
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All hell broke loose as supporters and media types expressed their utter bewilderment. Why would you risk alienating your skipper and, some may strongly argue, best player despite him apparently being okay with the move?
James Graham framed it this way on Triple M: "This sounds like Mitchell Moses has been re-signed and there's a group of Parramatta fans going 'well, what else do we need?'
"(They're saying) 'you know what would be really good? If we have this Parramatta team now, and we put Tommy Trbojevic at the back, we’ll win the comp'.
"That's what it sounds like. It sounds like fan fantasy talk. You can't have everything, you can't have it all."
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It was only when you got down to the fine print that it was explained this X-factor player or game- breaker – whoever he is – won’t necessarily be taking King Gutho's fullback spot per se, but could be a player who can play a bit of No.1 if required.
One 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."
Or maybe the Eels will decide to leave King Gutho on the throne. As Graham noted: "Gutherson might not be the X-factor but look what he did to James Fisher-Harris (last Thursday night).
"You're telling me one of those X-factor-style players stops Fisher-Harris (scoring) almost the try of the century when he's one-on-one with Gutherson?" Hard to argue.
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