Dragons slump to fifth loss in seven weeks as Eels slide past

By , Scott Bailey is a Roar Guru

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    Brad Arthur shifted Clinton Gutherson to fullback with immediate success for Parramatta, as the Eels beat St George Illawarra 24-10 on Sunday.

    The Eels’ Mr. Fix-it for the first half of the NRL season, Gutherson finally found a spot of his own at the back and celebrated with two first-half tries and 207 metres at ANZ Stadium.

    But the win is likely to have come at a cost, with Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury, while Beau Scott suffered an elbow complaint.

    But after 14 weeks of injury reshuffles and the wait for Mitchell Moses’ arrival, Arthur looked to have finally found the Eels’ most potent backline combination.

    Gutherson was faultless at the back, scoring the first try from a fortuitous rebound before blocking and scooping up a grubber to run 80 metres and score their second.

    It helped built a 12-4 half-time lead that never looked in danger of being chased down.

    His move to the back came after former NSW State of Origin centre Michael Jennings returned from a quad injury, while regular fullback Bevan French shifted to the right wing.

    Jennings crossed for a try from a 55-metre break after a Dragons dropped ball and French scored after a perfectly placed cross-field chip kick from halfback Moses, as the hosts sealed the result in the second half.

    French was also outstanding in defence, as he regularly pressured the Dragons’ attack with his speed and produced an intercept to save a try in his new-found position.

    Moses had his best game for the Eels as he partnered Corey Norman in the halves for just the second time.

    The pair forced four dropouts, as the Eels controlled the momentum of the match, despite only receiving their first penalty in the 71st minute.

    Meanwhile, Nene Macdonald and Paul Vaughan scored tries for the Dragons, but they never looked in the hunt as their attack stuttered without Origin stars Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell.

    Coach Paul McGregor took halfback Josh McCrone from the field with 13 minutes to play

    © AAP 2017

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