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Selfless Gutho's defence highlighted for positive reasons

Clint Gutherson could empathise with Maroons fullback Valentine Holmes when he belted him in Origin II.

The rookie Blues centre rocked Holmes as he caught a kick early in NSW's series-levelling victory in Sydney last Wednesday.

"A few of my mates sent [the video] to me," Gutherson said.

"But as a fullback [for Parramatta] I know how Val felt – you just attack the ball and you get them every so often.

"It's just a bit of kick-chase and as a fullback you've got to take it."

Gutherson's defence was on highlight reels for unfortunate reasons in his game-one debut with a costly miss on Kurt Capewell. The scrutiny came despite the 26-year-old making 32 tackles that night.

After another match defending on the right edge alongside halfback Nathan Cleary, back-rower Tyson Frizell and winger Josh Addo-Carr, Gutherson said he's now very comfortable.

"I'm sure game three will feel the same ... Nath, Frizz and Foxxy inside and outside me make it a lot easier for me," he said.

The top tackles from Origin II

In several ways Gutherson's role has been flipped from his club exploits for Parramatta, where he doesn't need to make many tackles and averages 190 running metres per match with plenty of touches.

He was limited to 54 metres from 10 runs last start, following 124 on debut, but doesn't care about stats – so long as he contributes.

"It doesn't bother me if I have one run for two metres or 50 runs for 500 – I've just got to go out there and do my part," Gutherson said.

"We're in here to try and get the win up there and that's what we're focused on ... Whatever I've got to do for the team, whether it's tackle, whether it's run, it doesn't bother me at all."

Meanwhile, NSW second-rower Angus Crichton is also feeling settled having replaced Boyd Cordner on the left edge in game two.

The Roosters star delivered a cracking performance and said he'd put in extensive time with his playmakers to fine-tune his line-running.

"It's [about] connection between players, it's building those combinations and we've worked pretty hard – me, Cody [Walker], Nath [Cleary], Teddy [James Tedesco]," Crichton said.

"Even running lines off guys like Jakey Trbojevic. There's been a lot of work going into the last couple of weeks.

"As an edge line-runner, it's all about your connection and your timing with the guy who's passing you the ball. So with Cody coming in [at five-eighth and me] moving from the right to the left, the middle to the left, you've definitely got to have a greater understanding.

"There's conversations and there's footage you watch, all that sort of stuff that goes on behind the scenes."

NSW second-rower Angus Crichton.
NSW second-rower Angus Crichton. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Crichton has played two Origin matches at Suncorp Stadium without tasting victory but has learnt from his experiences in hostile territory.

"You've just got to have the hunger and the desire to compete harder and win the little moments," he said.

"I think that's what Origin footy's about."


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