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Golden Gutherson steps up for Eels in extra time to sink Raiders

Up until that moment, the Eels and Raiders had scored exactly the same amount of points in their games against each other over the previous 38 years.

“I think we’re in a good place in terms of desire and want and character that we’re trying to build as a team,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.

“We played against the two grand finalists the last couple of weeks and we’ve showed we’ve got a bit of belief.”

Clinton Gutherson of the Eels celebrates kicking the winning field goal in golden point time.

Clinton Gutherson of the Eels celebrates kicking the winning field goal in golden point time.Credit:Getty

Moses’ injury, suffered six minutes before half-time, wasn’t the only setback they had to overcome. The referees have kept a relatively low profile since the resumption of the season, but Ashley Klein changed all that.

The whistle-blower disallowed a Parramatta try to Marata Niukore, ruling Moses knocked on in tapping back his own kick. It was a close call but replays suggested otherwise.

However, there was no doubt Klein dudded the Eels when he missed a blatant forward pass in the lead up to Elliott Whitehead’s try. The movement was spectacular, not least because Jarrod Croker threw the ball at least a metre forward. It was a square-up from the footy gods after the Eels got a fortuitous call a fortnight ago to squeak home against Manly.

Ray Stone goes over the line at Bankwest.

Ray Stone goes over the line at Bankwest.Credit:AAP

The Eels refused to let the bad calls become decisive ones.

Dylan Brown was forced to call the shots solo at the age of just 20. He came up with the right decisions under pressure. Gutherson also led from the front, coming up with a series of clutch plays throughout to seal the result.

It was a brutal battle. Moses is scheduled to go for scans that will determine his immediate future. Josh Papalii, Waqa Blake and Junior Paulo all came off to be assessed for head knocks. While they returned to the field, there are likely to be other casualties unable to back up next week.

Arthur said he wasn’t sure who would replace Moses for the Cowboys clash.

“He’ll need scans but he’ll be out for a bit,” Arthur said. “He had a bit of a calf complaint in the COVID period. It is what it is, the turf had nothing to do with it.”

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored two late tries to help send the game into extra time.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored two late tries to help send the game into extra time.Credit:AAP

All the early running was with Parramatta. They completed their first 10 sets and didn’t need to make a single tackle in their quarter for much of the game. And then a Reed Mahoney forward pass from dummy half totally changed the momentum. Papalii strolled over untouched moments later and, when Whitehead scored, the Raiders went into the sheds 12-8 up.

Despite Moses watching helplessly from the sidelines, the Eels scored three consecutive tries, to Ray Stone, Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo.

The game appeared over. This is the time when Moses would normally be called upon to manage the final few moments and ice the game. But Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored two tries, including a long-range effort with just 91 seconds left on the clock. Jarrod Croker levelled it all up with the conversion to send the game into extra time.

Nathan Brown may have been suspended, but his absence was offset by another lunatic lock. Corey Horsburgh was a stick of gelignite with no wick. Kaboom. When he was pole-axed by three Eels forwards, he was promising to get square before he was even vertical again.

The fiery redhead was later on the receiving end of a tackle from Ryan Matterson. Again he began the counterattack while still on his back. Perhaps upset that his leg was worked over in the tackle, he was in tears as he limped off the field just before half-time.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said his charges were “trying too hard”.

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“We’re not the team we were last year, we’ll never be that team, we can put that to rest,” he said.

“We are not where we need to be as a team today. We will get a little bit of luck, we’re not getting that at the moment.”

Just as everyone was warming to the new six-again rule, there was an unexpected controversy. On at least two occasions, the ‘Phantom Bell’ struck. The ding that signifies the restart of the tackle count went off inexplicably, fooling Brown into getting caught with the ball on the last tackle.

There were other odd spots. Officials ruled there was no danger in playing on the Bankwest surface, but both sides bucked convention by completing their warm-ups indoors. While the attrition rate was high, it had more to do with the ferocity of the contact rather than the state of the pitch.

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