Eels right edge coming together: Gutherson
Eels winger Clint Gutherson was a relieved man at the end of his side's 20-16 win over the Cowboys after he and centre Brad Takairangi saw three tries go past them in their opening-round loss to Brisbane.
The right edge pairing kept their share of the blue and gold line intact against the premiers and Gutherson and Takairangi have each got on the score sheet already this season in a positive sign for Parramatta's all-new right edge.
Gutherson has had to deal with plenty of attention in the opening two games with both Brisbane and North Queensland opting to keep the ball away from the Eels' lethal-looking left edge of Semi Radradra and Michael Jennings and though he had a couple of errors in Round 2 there were plenty of high pressure takes as well.
"I'm sure I'll get a lot of the kicks – if I was an opposition half I wouldn't kick to Semi either with the size of him and how good he is, I wouldn't be kicking to him," Gutherson laughed at Eels training this week.
"I'm happy to take the challenge on and I've dropped a couple in the first couple of weeks but I've just got to be confident and attack the ball and they'll start rolling my way.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge actually, it just means I'll get my hands on the ball a bit more and show people what I can do."
The confidence of the Eels' right-side defence had also improved markedly from week one to two, he added.
"We were a lot more confident on Saturday night, we just had to get up and do our thing. There were a few [defensive] mistakes in the first game but that was Round 1 so we knew it was going to happen," he said.
"It was a good turnaround, we defended much better on Saturday night and we were pretty happy with how it went."
Gutherson is happy with how his combination with Takairangi (who last year partnered Radradra on Parramatta's left side) is developing overall.
"We get along real well so we just have to take that out onto the field. He's a skilful massive man so we just need to give him early ball and in defence do what we have to do and in coming weeks we'll just get better and better," he said.
The other notable addition to the Eels' right side in both attack and defence is former Sea Eagle Kieran Foran, who himself has had to transition from marshalling Manly's left edge throughout his entire first-grade career to predominantly playing on the right this year.
Foran missed the season opener due to a troublesome hamstring but was a key component of Parramatta's win over North Queensland and Gutherson praised the impact his old Manly teammate had had already.
"'Foz' coming into any team would be good but coming onto our edge was a massive help with his experience and determination," Gutherson said.
"You know what he's going to give you and it was excellent; I'm looking forward to running out with him more often."
Gutherson is satisfied with how his own form has been progressing after sitting out 2015 due to a knee reconstruction
"I was a bit rusty the first round but I'm happy with where I'm at. I've got to keep improving, it was my first couple of games in a while so I've got to get back into the rhythm of it and just play some footy," he said.