With Parramatta out of finals contention, Clint Gutherson has put his hand up to trial for the club’s vacant 2017 fullback spot for the rest of the season.
With current custodian Michael Gordon on his way to the Sydney Roosters in the summer, Gutherson is one of a number of candidates coach Brad Arthur could experiment with to wear the No.1 next year.
Youngster Bevan French is another who is considered a fullback-in-waiting, while the status of former Eels icon and code-hopper Jarryd Hayne is also unclear.
Gutherson said fullback has long been his favoured position and warmed to spending more time there, but resigned to playing five-eighth for the final six weeks following the suspension of Corey Norman.
“(I’m) a bit of just a filler at the moment,” he said.
“My favourite position is fullback. I played there most of my junior footy … At the moment we’ve got `Flash’ there and he’s doing a good job for us at the back there.
“At the moment I’ve slipped into the six with Norms being out the rest of the season, so I’ll probably have to end up playing there until he wants to chuck me somewhere else. I’m just happy playing.”
Gutherson also said Hayne’s possible homecoming would mean an automatic return to fullback.
“No one’s going to take his spot. He will be one of the best if he ever comes back. If he comes back, I’ll just fit in anywhere and I’ll be happy to play alongside him,” he said.
Despite the Eels’ worst season in club history, the 21-year-old Gutherson said it was important the Eels not throw the towel in over the final six weeks of the year.
“We don’t see any excuses to drop off,” he said.
“We’re still going to be fighting and trying to ruin a few teams’ seasons in the last six weeks. We’re just doing our best to win the games and build some combinations here next year.”