Gutho set to cash in after sparking electric Eels
It could be the 80 minutes that nails down a $2 million contract.
Parramatta skipper Clint Gutherson dragged his side back from the brink against St George Illawarra after being behind 14-0 nearing half-time.
A stunning 26-point second half gave Parramatta a stirring 32-18 win, their fifth from eight games this season.
Gutherson scored a 75-metre solo try just three minutes into the second half and helped in a Maika Sivo try just three minutes later. It broke the game open.
The Eels skipper popped up the middle of the field and has a wonderful awareness of where there is space on a footy field.
He has that knack of identifying defensive holes.
Gutherson wants $700,000 a season - Parramatta want to outlay $650,000. The Eels should find that additional $50,000 and re-sign him.
The contract drama doesn't appear to be hindering and annoying Gutherson, who ran for 234 metres on Sunday.
It was another spectacular and high-energy game before 25,872 fans at the new Bankwest Stadium. This match was an absolute ripper, Parramatta scoring five tries in 44 minutes.
There is no doubt the quality of play has been prompted by the new stadium, the atmosphere, crowd and the occasion.
Parramatta showed enormous courage and heart to swing back into the game when behind by 14 points.
The Eels grabbed momentum early in the second half and never handed it back. They dug in and turned pressure into points.
"We just had to compete," said Eels hooker Reed Mahoney.
Parramatta's Fijian winger Maika Sivo scored two tries in a performance which reminded many of the departed Semi Radradra.
His first try was a 70-metre effort where he swapped the ball in each hand to swat away defenders.
Sivo ran for 198 metres.
Winger Blake Ferguson did a backflip after scoring in the 64th minute. Mitch Moses also a brilliant in the second half.
Eels forward Tepai Moeroa could be charged by the match review committee after diving at the legs of a kicking Norman. It ensured penalty and scuffle.
"We knew we had to stay in the grind," Moeroa said.
Saints lost two star players - Tyson Frizell and Corey Norman - to injury.
Frizell received a poke in the eye and came from the field in the first half, came off, went back on and then came off the good at halftime.
Norman sustained a suspected fractured cheekbone.
Everything seemed to go against Saints in the second half although it was a loss that may haunt them later in this season.
Norman, a former Eel, was jeered loudly each time he touched the ball. Fans throughout rugby league are passionate but booing Norman was strange given Parramatta ushered him out the door.
Saints looked particularly strong throughout the first 35 minutes but fell away. Prop Paul Vaughan was impressive again.
St George Illawarra scored a try that will long be remembered. The ball actually moved about 150 metres across and then down the field.
Matt Dufty, Mikaele Ravalawa, Jordan Pereira, Tim Lafai and then Dufty again handled in a stunning movement from a Parramatta kick.
There was speed ball movement, offloads and angles. It was something special and gave Saints a 14-0 lead.
Parramatta also scored two long-range tries.
PARRAMATTA 32 (M Sivo 2 B Ferguson C Gutherson R Mahoney tries M Moses 6 goals) bt ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 18 (M Dufty B Hunt M Ravalawa tries Z Lomax 3 goals) at Bankwest Stadium. Referee: Chris Butler, Ashley Klein