Shattered Gutherson takes blame for heartbreaking loss
Clint Gutherson had just emerged from the Parramatta dressing room, his eyes bloodshot from all the tears he shed after his side's heartbreaking loss to the Bulldogs on Friday.
He wandered out, hoodie over his head, a distraught figure after his crunch-time mistake led to Canterbury's match-winning try and all but ended his side's slim hopes of playing finals football.
Most would have made a beeline for the exit doors. Plenty have. But not Gutherson.
Even though he had been advised that three journalists were waiting in the corridors to talk to him, he felt this was on him. That it was his duty to front up and face the music.
It was probably the last thing he would have wanted to do after such an emotional ordeal, but he did, choking back tears as he reflected on that embarrassing moment that contributed to his team's demise.
"It's shattering," Gutherson said.
"You work so hard and it comes down to that play and I didn't make it. I take the loss on me. As a player, that's what you do. I'm taking full responsibility for that loss.
"There were tears in the sheds. It's heartbreaking. You put everything into the game and you come out with nothing. We're bottom of the table. It's hard."
The reality is Parramatta were beaten well before Gutherson's air-swing, paying the price for an inability to put away a Bulldogs team that arguably had no right to win that game.
But Gutherson, who a few weeks ago was named co-captain of the club, shouldered the blame for his team's defeat.
It may be too hard to see right now, but Parramatta are in safe hands while he is at the helm. What Brad Arthur would give to clone the commitment, desire and appetite for success Gutherson possesses.
Granted, it was his mistake that gifted the Bulldogs the match-winning try, but without Gutherson the Eels may not have been in a position to win at all.
The Eels had lost six on the trot while he was out injured to start the year, and have won two of four games since his return.
However that percentage of wins has to increase dramatically if they are to become the second team in NRL history to overcome a two and eight start to the year to play finals football.
"We believe in ourselves," Gutherson said.
"You can see what we do when we control the ball. We kill ourselves. We've been talking about it the last 10 weeks. It's stupid. We talk the right talk but we don't go out there and do it. It's frustrating and we have to fix it.
"Only one team has ever done it and we're going to push to make it two. We're a tight group. The boys spray each other and that's how it should be. You have to take the blame. You can't walk in Monday and expect it's going to change by itself."