Eels back in the winners’ circle as Broncos face prospect of the wooden spoon

Parramatta Eels captain and fullback Clint Gutherson

It was a welcome win for the Parramatta Eels, as the Brisbane Broncos stare down the barrel of a wooden spoon after the 26-12 loss. 

The loss was compounded by an injury to hulking back-rower David Fifita, who was seen on crutches nursing an ankle issue.

Criticised in recent weeks for their lack of cohesion in attack, there were some good signs of improvement.

Making his first Broncos appearance, Tyson Gamble left the field in just the first minute due to concussion.

Slogging it out and testing the waters early, the first twenty minutes was a defensive slog.

The duck was broken after 20 minutes, however, when a lovely cut-out pass from Clint Gutherson found Blake Ferguson.

The Eels would then attack down their other flank and Mitch Moses would throw an equally solid cut-out pass for Maika Sivo.

Not one to rest on their laurels, though, the Broncos showed that they had plenty of fight.

A swashbuckling run from David Fifita close to the line saw him power over for a try, typical of those we see from him.

Just when it seemed like the momentum was with the Broncos, the Eels would score once again.

Gutherson got himself on the scoreboard when he grubbered for himself, collected the ricochet, and burrowed over to score.

The King of Parramatta has his second soon after off a scrum play, simply taking the line on, spotting the gap, and going over to score.

The Broncos would again hit back, this time through Herbie Farnworth who just managed to hold onto the ball.

An errant pass would see the Eels extend their lead once again, though, as Jai Field showed his pace to race away and score.

A major talking point was the decision to put Junior Paulo on report for a hip tackle, but Eels coach Brad Arthur saw nothing in it.

“There’s nothing much in that, is there? It shouldn’t have even been a penalty,” Arthur said.

“That’s not a penalty. What is he supposed to do? No way. That was not the description of the hip tackle.”

Arthur believes the win was a step in the right direction but was quick to praise Brisbane for their efforts.

“It was a step in the right direction, it was better,” Arthur said.

“I thought we tried to play a lot more football. We played a nice power game there for a while.

“The second half, it would’ve been nice to nail a couple of those opportunities, but we’ve got to give credit to the Broncos – they were brave.”

Desperate to avoid the wooden spoon and keen to send Darius Boyd out a winner, the Broncos are determined for a win next week.

“We’re expecting a chance to get the biggest crowd of the round with the Queensland derby back at Suncorp,” Broncos coach Peter Gentle said.

“We’d like to fill it as much as we can.

“We’ve known for quite a while now where Darius’s finish line was.

“We’ll have to send Dave [Fifita] off as well – that’s in the balance. We’ll be doing everything to send Darbs out a winner.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Clint Gutherson

2. Oregon Kaufusi

  1. Andrew Davey
Parramatta Eels prop Oregon Kaufusi

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