Gutherson defends Brown, warns of more Eels shake-ups

Captain Clint Gutherson has warned more of his Parramatta teammates may face the axe, claiming the Eels have let Dylan Brown down as he adjusts to life as a NRL halfback.

Seeking to spark the Eels’ 2-3 season, Brad Arthur has dropped winger Maika Sivo and rookie Blaize Talagi for Saturday’s home clash with North Queensland. 

Arthur shuffled the deck, bringing Daejarn Asi in for Talagi at five-eighth as Brown juggles his run-first approach with the need to steer the Eels around the park. 

The Eels have yet to win a game since halfback Mitchell Moses went down with a broken foot a fortnight ago and Gutherson warned more changes could come if Parramatta don’t respond to last week’s 41-8 hammering away to Canberra.

Clint Gutherson
Clint Gutherson says Eels players need to step up and do their jobs.

“Those (dropped) guys haven’t kicked stones, they’ve still got a job to do,” Gutherson said. 

“The players that are going to come in, they have to make sure they're playing well otherwise, they are going to be other people on the chopping block as well.

“Blaize is a rookie, you’re probably asking a lot for him to take the pressure off (Brown and) Daejarn’s done it before.”

Brown’s move to fill Moses’ shoes has been met with plenty of scrutiny, but Gutherson argued such criticism was unwarranted. 

“Dyl has been doing that (well), he’s been one of our better players the last two weeks,” Gutherson said. 

“He kicked well, he ran the ball and there’s probably a handful of other players who’ve been letting the team down. 

“We know what we have to do to fix it and we have to do that this week. 

“I’m there to do what I can do for the team, I don’t need to be doing anyone else’s job, the other 16 players have got to do their job.” 

Sivo’s axing was the biggest surprise of them all. 

The big Fijian winger, who has 90 tries in 105 NRL games, has been a near ever-present for the Eels since his debut in 2019.

But the 10-Test international has clearly been below his best since returning from a suspension in round four. 

Maika Sivo
Maika Sivo (r) was below his best before his surprise axing.

“It’s probably a confidence thing for Maika because when he’s on and feeling good he’s one of the best wingers in the comp,” Gutherson added.

“He’s got to get back to being Maika.

“We need that Maika every week and the NRL is such a tough sport it’s hard to win games - you need 17 players doing their job and we haven't had that the last two weeks.”

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