Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson played through the pain of a broken hand during Sunday night’s NRL Grand Final loss to the Panthers, The Daily Telegraph has revealed.
The courageous fullback was seen wearing thick black strapping around the injured hand at Accor Stadium, however he didn’t seem at all encumbered by the broken bone that would normally require weeks on the sidelines.
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The 28-year-old reportedly suffered the injury two weeks ago, meaning he also managed to play through the injury during Parramatta’s preliminary final victory over the Cowboys a week earlier.
“Gutho will play it down, but he’s got a break there and I guess that was how much he wanted to win,’’ an Eels source told The Daily Telegraph.
Gutherson was still putting his body on the line until the final minutes of the game, making a huge tackle on a rampaging Brian To’o before crossing for a try in the 76th minute.
Unfortunately he wasn’t the only Eels star battling injury in the decider, with five-eighth Dylan Brown struggling to make an impact on the match due to ongoing back spasms.
Centre Bailey Simonsson also appeared to seriously damage his shoulder as a result of Dylan Edwards’ Scott Sattler-style cover tackle late in the game.
While understandably devastated by the result, Gutherson’s focus quickly turned to next season in the immediate aftermath of the 28-12 loss on Sunday.
He told reporters the loss will help the Eels go one better next year, despite the loss of stars Reed Mahoney and Isaiah Papali’i.
“You’d like to think this feeling gives you a lot of motivation. None of us have felt this, so it makes you want to get back here,” Gutherson said.
“Even a few of the Penrith boys said that was a lot of motivation for them when they lost a couple of years ago.
“We’re losing a couple of great players but whoever steps up is going to do a job for us next year.
“We’re not going to think about that now, we’re going to get in there, enjoy each other’s company and probably sit back and enjoy what we’ve achieved as a team, as a club and as people this year.
“Not many people gave us a chance to get here four, five six weeks ago and to prove them wrong (it’s) pretty good.”