The Bulldogs found out the hard way that if you come at the King, you best not miss.
In one of his best performances of the season, Clint Gutherson carried his side to another emphatic 32-10 victory as the Eels maintained their red-hot start against a Canterbury team that took several steps in the wrong direction after last week’s heroics.
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Gutherson was virtually unstoppable in the first half, racking up 166 metres and two tries as the Eels slithered their way to a 16-0 lead at the break.
He then set up Maika Sivo with a lightning quick tap-on before earning a rare breather with eight minutes to go.
The fitness phenom was everywhere on Saturday night to support half-breaks, but it’s his ability to exploit numbers down skinny shortsides and subtle ball-playing skills that have taken his game to new heights in 2021 as he looks to keep up with the best fullbacks in the NRL.
Brown down in concerning Eels blow
There were fears Nathan Brown had suffered a season-ending injury when he collapsed to the turf late in the first half as he turned to chase a break.
The off-contract lock forward stayed down in agony for several minutes before he was helped off by trainers, but it looks like he could be back within weeks after injuring his hip-pointer.
The injury is considered one of the most painful in the game, but the good news is players generally return within three weeks.
Canterbury have their own concerns with Dylan Napa forced off after 16 minutes with a shoulder injury. The prop wasn’t able to return a week after he produced his best game of the year in the win over Cronulla.
Brown looked in agony after pulling up sore in the first half. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Trent Barrett was in tears last week after Canterbury held on for their first win of the season, but he’ll be crying himself to sleep after watching his side commit cardinal sins galore in a horror first half at Stadium Australia.
The Bulldogs missed 20 tackles in the opening 40 minutes, butchered a captain’s challenge and came up with six errors as they struggled for any continuity.
Napa also conceded a penalty when he tackled Mitchell Moses in the air as the Eels halfback sent a kick out on the full. It cost the Bulldogs crucial field position, something that cruelled them throughout the first half as they failed to have a single play the ball in the attacking 20.
All for nothing
Ava Seumanufagai proved you don’t have to hit someone high to get on the highlight reels after he smashed Shaun Lane to force an error close to the line.
It fired up his teammates and looked to have been a potential turning point, only for the Eels to respond in kind from the ensuing scrum when three Parramatta players dragged Corey Allan 10 metres to force a line dropout.
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