Monday, March 8, 2021


Free agents running free: in-demand Eels stars run riot

There's something symbolic about Mitchell Moses dashing into the NRL's history books, a fr..

By Sunday Herald Team , in Sports , at April 22, 2019

There's something symbolic about Mitchell Moses dashing into the NRL's history books, a free agent running free.

Parramatta's other free agent Clint Gutherson has just set him loose, scything 70 metres downfield for the first-ever try at a $360 million stadium going bonkers. They've taken a quick tap on their own 20-metres, leaving a couple of Tigers turning themselves so far inside out they might only untangle themselves on Tuesday.

Timely try: Mitchell Moses did his contract value no harm when he ran 80m to score the opening try at the new Bankwest Stadium.

Timely try: Mitchell Moses did his contract value no harm when he ran 80m to score the opening try at the new Bankwest Stadium.Credit:AAP

And every Eels fan rising out of their seat in Bankwest Stadium, at home in their loungeroom, at the pub, at the club asks: why haven't we signed them yet?

It's a good question. But after the sins of years gone past, maybe the Easter weekend is one where Parramatta management finally show Moses-like speed to hurry up this impasse of pen being put to paper.

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In the sheds afterwards, Moses has a laugh about the inevitable contract questions and then toed a usual line about leaving it to his management and the club. Why wouldn't he? With each passing week, there might be a few extra dollars added to the bottom line. Ditto Gutherson.

And at a time when footballers are either distracted or determined over offers and counter offers, it says a lot about Brad Arthur's Eels the two men who have had the most headlines written about them in recent weeks were creating news for all the right reasons on Easter Monday.

"Theyre footballers," shrugged coach Brad Arthur, his team having just whipped the Tigers 51-6 at Bankwest Stadium's grand opening in front of a crowd of 29,047.

Celebration: off-contract stars Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson salute their efforts on Monday.

Celebration: off-contract stars Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson salute their efforts on Monday.Credit:NRL Photos

"Thats the situation and theyve just got to perform well for their teammates. Thats the mentality theyve got at the moment. Its not around the individual, its about playing well and doing their role for each other.

"We werent great at that last year. Their attitude shift is positive for us."

Moses chalked up 19 individual points through a try, seven goals and a last-gasp field goal which was nothing more than a party trick at the ultimate homecoming bash. Gutherson was Mr. Everywhere. Again.

They know the better the play the more questions will be asked of Parramatta management, who have previously stressed talks over Arthur's own deal are on hold until June. He's surely a long way down the road to winning an extension at a club, which don't look anything like the one which was winless at this same stage last season.

They were trying to say it was their home: Clint Gutherson and the Eels showed Wests Tigers who's boss at the new Bankwest Stadium on Easter Monday.

They were trying to say it was their home: Clint Gutherson and the Eels showed Wests Tigers who's boss at the new Bankwest Stadium on Easter Monday.Credit:NRL Photos

"You know what, Ive made no secret I love this club and I want to stay," Arthur said. "Weve just got to keep playing well.

"Ive got to earn my contract. Its not about me, its not about Gutho. Its about the team. Weve just got to play. Were not going to play like that all the time, but as long as theyve got the effort and intent [it will be fine].

"Everyones fighting for their future, but its more than that. We were disappointing last year and we let a lot of people down, probably none moreso than ourselves."

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