Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has made a surprise move in a bid to resurrect his team's Telstra Premiership campaign, handing Clint Gutherson the co-captaincy ahead of Sunday's home clash with Manly.
''It's a massive honour to share the captaincy of this club,'' Gutherson said.
''I'm looking forward to leading our team for the rest of the season.''
Gutherson is just one game back from a season-ending knee injury he suffered last year, but Arthur hasn't wasted any time throwing the fullback in the deep-end by shaking up the captaincy arrangement.
The 23-year-old will share the duties with incumbent co-captains Tim Mannah and Beau Scott, but it's understood Gutherson's promotion is designed to help inflate the team's confidence after a disastrous start to the year.
''Each player brings different strengths to our team, and Clint has certainly proven his leadership skills and deserves to be rewarded for it," Arthur said.
''Clint will have the opportunity to develop as a leader under the tutelage of two experienced captains in Tim and Beau.''
NRL.com understands the three-way captaincy will help groom Gutherson into the role so that he could potentially become sole captain next season.
Gutherson and Arthur share a close bond - perhaps closer than any other player-coach relationship at the club.
While Mannah is Parramatta through and through, it's hard to deny that Gutherson is now the heartbeat of the Eels football team.
He's the fan favourite. The players all love him. And his commitment and professionalism is second to none.
It was that unwavering dedication to his rehabilitation that helped the man affectionately known as 'Gutho' to get back on the field within nine months of suffering the second ACL injury of his short career.
Arthur is hoping that handing Gutherson a more senior role in the club will not only boost team morale, but provide a voice that instils confidence and demands a standard that the players have failed to meet over the first six weeks of the competition.
It's hoped Gutherson will also be able to influence the rhythm of the match through his ability to communicate with the match officials - something that Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith is considered best at.