2018 stats – games played (19), average (47), tries (6)
2017 stats – games played (18), average (67), tries (11)
Much like the Parramatta Eels of 2019, Clint Gutherson’s (“King Gutho” as he is referred to by his loyal subjects) form fell off a cliff after a breakout year in 2017. It’s hard to put this down to any one issue – after all, his first game back from an ACL injury was Round 6, but let’s look over a few of the excuses:
- He played in a team with the worst attack in the league
- He crossed the stripe only 6 times and when Parramatta did miraculously nab a try and he was required to kick goals (as a backup only), but struck them poorly at 60%
- He was shuffled around from fullback to 5/8, back to fullback and then into the centres to close out the year.
All this added up to a frustrating 2018 that never got going after a 2017 season that had him lined up as one of the premier CTW options in the competition.
In all, it was a tough season all around for the CTW position, and if you were like me and backed Gutho in as a POD option mid-year, he was only one of many disappointments.
Gutho’s BPPG was very reasonable at a shade under 30 (2017: 24) by sheer virtue of the fact that the bloke just loves running the ball. This was enough to see him ranked 18th across the CTW position for base (10+ games), but base was never the selling point for him to begin with. The alarming stat for owners is that he didn’t even make the Top 40 CTWs for average points for the year and was a mile off the pack in attacking stats after being one of the most potent in 2017.
So what’s changed about him for 2019? Well…:
- He’ll be starting afresh with a full pre-season under the belt training at fullback
- Parra are likely to slot rookie Jaeman Salmon into the halves which should see Gutho commanding more of the ball (where he was sharing this with the likes of Hayne, Moses and Norman in a very clunky 2018 attack).
- He’ll have the chance to link at the back with star recruit Blake Ferguson
- The distraction that is Jarryd Hayne is no longer floating around the club
- He starts the year off at a very reasonably-priced $439,300. A year ago while his throne was golden and shiny he was nudging $600k.
If you’re going to back Gutho to return to the form of 2017, you’re also unfortunately going to need to back Parramatta to click and drag themselves off the canvas. Who’s brave (or stupid) enough? There’s only one direction that both Gutho and Parramatta can take. He won me over in 2017 and like a bad ex, you sometimes can’t resist going back despite the risk. But this time, it’ll be different…
2019: The Return of the King!