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

By Scott Bailey, Scott Bailey is a Roar Guru

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8 Have your say

    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

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • June 18th 2017 @ 9:17pm
      Charles NSW said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

      As a coach you have to make changes if the team is not firing as well as it can be
      Despite the fact that there has been some real talent developing.
      The Dragons do have to strengthen the team much more if it wants to continue its success.
      It is the centres and the wings that needs the most adjustment.
      I feel we need to try new blood to see if we can improve our attack.
      Here is who I think is worth trying.

      Matthew Dufty
      Jason Nightingale
      Josh Dugan
      Tim Lafai
      Kurt Mann
      Gareth Widdop
      Josh McCrone
      Russell Packer
      Cameron Innes
      Paul Vaughan
      Joel Thompson
      Tyson Frizell
      Jack De Belin

      Leeson Ah Mau
      Hame Sele
      Tyrone McCarthy
      Jai Field

      • June 19th 2017 @ 3:43pm
        Matto Dragon said | June 19th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

        Are you serious? You call for changes, then leave McCrone at Halfback???
        Kurt Mann MUST be Halfback and McCrone should warm a bench at the Steelers.
        The spare wing spot should go to one of the kids playing so well for the Steelers: Garrick, Thompson or Herbert.
        Packer has shown since he’s signed elsewhere, he’s not interested. He’s barely reached a total of 100 metres from the last 2 games. Ah Mau should start and Packer go to the Steelers.
        Can’t believe your bench; where’s Sims?
        Bench should be Sims, Sele, McCarthy and either Lawrie/Kerr/Leilua.
        If you had watched a few Steelers games you would know that Field is not within a bull’s roar of being a first grader. All people remember is his performance in the Auckland 9s and the media hype that came with that. He’s not a Jack Bird and he’s not a Nathan Cleary. He’s a kid that needs to get bigger, learn how to play against men and not depend on the gaps opening up like they do in the 9s and u/20s. Hopefully, he’ll get there, but that’s some time off.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 4:15pm
          Charles NSW said | June 19th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

          I appreciate your comments!

          McCrone kicking game is not going too well neither but because he has been training with Widdop on set moves I thought we may give him more time.
          Sims gives away silly penalties and has been disappointing of late.
          Ah Mau looks injured but he is doing well despite that.

          I did not want to make too many changes such as McCrone as I said I would like to see how they go first.
          Kurt Mann should be the half back no arguement there perhaps we need to do it now as we are not improving.

          Jai Field can play fullback, half, or 5/8 and with speed we could use that providing we can use him.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 5:12pm
          gruntus said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

          matto dragon agree with everything you said, Mcrone should not be allowed anywhere near first grade.

    • June 18th 2017 @ 11:37pm
      Tricky Ricky said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:37pm | ! Report

      So called Head Of Recruitment Ian Millward and Doust have a lot to answer for the Dragons demise over the past month after such a promising start to the season. Looks like more of the same in store for the long suffering Dragons faithful. A fish is no good if it has a rotten stinking head. Same can be said of the Dragons football club management.

    • June 19th 2017 @ 7:30am
      Agent11 said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      The Dragons were always going to slide down the ladder. They won’t make the top 8.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 4:00pm
        Matto Dragon said | June 19th 2017 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

        Like they did with Price, they rushed in to sign a cheap option, and now we’re stuck with Mcgregor for another 2 and a half seasons.
        Why they couldn’t wait till the end of Round 26 before deciding on signing a coach, is beyond me. They surely didn’t think some other club was going to poach him lol
        This slide was always going to happen. Rival coaches have worked us out and set their game plan accordingly. And as he has shown over 2 and a half years so far, McGregor is unable to counter because he has no Plan B and he doesn’t drop players.
        To win a comp you have to have a fearless, hard nosed professional as your coach. Due to McGregor’s premature signing, CEO Doust has consigned the fans to another 3 seasons without a Premiership.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 10:20pm
          Charles NSW said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:20pm | ! Report

          Paul McGregor is still learning so I am not there to criticize that he is our coach for the Dragons.

          One of the problems he needs to learn is that a coach needs to keep strengthening his team wherever possible. He needs to look at what his got and how he can fit a player to his needs.
          NSW will learn that in the 2nd match if they let Pearce play the way he did in game one.

          Take McCrone for example;
          You can see that whatever work is done to improve his skills he is not going to able to improve enough in time for what the Dragons need.
          All the pressure is on Widdop and we need a halfback to take that pressure off him.
          Mann has a lot going for him and should have the chance to show what he can do.

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