AAP Rugby

Ton-up Gutherson goes from zero to hero

By AAP Newswire

Maika Sivo's familiar chant rang around Bankwest Stadium on Friday night, but just two loud fans made Clint Gutherson smile on his 100th NRL appearance.

Lining up for one of six tricky conversions, a pair of Eels fans chanted "Gutho" from the stands - a sound that has been missed while crowds have been locked out since mid-March.

Sivo was typically flashy with four tries, but Gutherson's milestone was more understated, and no less important.

It's taken the 25-year-old eight seasons to notch up the ton, playing just five games in three seasons at Manly and overcoming two ACL injuries before hitting his stride with Parramatta.

It took Gutherson time to find his feet after he swapped the Sydney's northern beaches for the golden west, and acknowledged he was "hated when I first came here, on the wing and playing pretty bad footy."

But reflecting on the milestone was emotional for the in-form fullback who admitted to bouts of self-doubt after being worn down by his injury woes.

"I think I played four or five games over four years," he said.

"You've just got to put up with it and go along with it, I'm lucky I've got a good bunch of mates and good family... 100 games feels like 300 for me.

"I had some great role models growing up playing at Manly.

"They went through it a lot as well with Snake [Brett Stewart], he only played a few games over a few years [at one point] and when I did my knee early he got around me and that's what got me through."

Gutherson is one of several players to rejuventate their careers under Brad Arthur after being being released by other clubs.

Penrith discards Maika Siko, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Waqa Blake along with another ex-Sea Eagle Shaun Lane have all been key players for the Eels' in their stunning start to the season.

Another cast-off, former St George Illawarra halfback Jai Field, filled in superbly for the injured Mitchell Moses against the Cowboys.

"Brad gave us a chance," Gutherson said.

"He and the coaching staff, they just back us.

"And that's the type of footy we can play when they do.

"Brad deserves what we're going through at the moment."