SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Clint Gutherson of the Eelsruns the ball during the round 21 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Gold Coast Titans at ANZ Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Parramatta has started the season in a hugely positive manner.

Star signing Blake Ferguson is leading the way and has been the club’s star and Mitchell Moses has re-found the form that saw a western Sydney tug of war for his services.

Their forward pack is bashing sides up the middle while young Reed Mahoney is looking like a future superstar.

The biggest positive of all though comes in the form of their superstar number one Clint Gutherson who has been incredible.

After a slowish return to the game following a long injury lay-off last season, King Gutho is breathing fire in 2019.

His form and marketability have seen him become one of the open market’s hottest commodities.

The Eels are obviously desperate to keep him at the club while his former club the Sea Eagles have been linked with his services.

South Sydney will be linked to almost every player on the market if the NRL allows them to reinvest the money possibly freed up by the Greg Inglis retirement.

I’m sure the Cowboys will be monitoring the situation given Valentine Holmes now looks no certainty to join the club.

All of this potential interest combined with Gutherson’s form and talents continue to drive up his asking price.

Reports over the past 48 hours indicate that Gutherson and his management have turned down the latest contract from the Eels.

The belief is that Gutherson is looking for a long-term contract worth around 700/750k per season.

As a star fullback, Gutho really has every right to explore his options and maximize his earning potential.

That said, the reports seem to have split Eels fans and the wider rugby league community almost down the middle re his worth.

Half of the Eels’ fan base wants to see their number one re-signed at any cost while the other does not see his worth at three-quarters of a million per season.

My first reaction was that $700,000 a season was a little steep. Tedesco, RTS and Turbo are all million dollar fullbacks. Ponga isn’t far off.

The Sharks offered Valentine Holmes around 800k before his move to the states.

The one thing all of those aforementioned players have in common is that they’re representative mainstays.

RTS is Kiwi captain, Ponga debuted for QLD in his first full season, Tedesco is the game’s premier fullback, Turbo is an Origin and Kangaroo certainty when fit and Holmes is a freak.

With all due respect to Gutherson, he is not a representative footballer at this stage.

700k is a fair way from the salary of Teddy, RTS and Turbo especially but it’s still a massive investment.

My original thought was that I’d expect his next contract to be around 500k. 700 is a huge jump.

That said, fullback is fast becoming the most important position, outside of the halves, in the game.

Billy Slater revolutionised the game. Tedesco is a top five player in the game. Moylan and Ponga have become their respective clubs number one attacking option.

There’s no doubt that Gutherson is a star. He’s probably the third most important member of this Eels’ squad after Moses and Ferguson.

So what if the Eels up his contract by 100k a season to hold off Manly and co from poaching their star?

I can tell you now that Manly won’t be paying him 750 to play in the centres.

He may move into the halves as the number one on the northern beaches is filled for the next ten years.

Manly already have over a million dollars a season invested in their halves.

Ultimately the market will decide Gutherson’s value and I’m of the opinion that Parra should pay what it takes to secure his services.

I just can’t see who else could make that money a reality though.

Manly surely won’t match that given their cap constraints. Souths will be hesitant although if the Inglis money is made available I suppose it’s not impossible.

The Cowboys may be in the game for that figure but shifting to North Queensland isn’t a small move by any means.

I don’t want to sit on the fence here so I’m in the camp that 750k a season seems a little high.

There aren’t too many players worth that kind of money.

That said, if the Eels need to step up to sign their star fullback long-term, that’s a gamble they’re probably going to need to take.

I can’t see King Gutho ruling anywhere other than Bankwest Stadium any time soon.

11 COMMENTS

  1. This is a really tough one for me. First off, I honestly don’t think Gutho will command $750K on the open market given that he has had 2 knee reconstructions and is only 24, and that he isn’t a rep player. I do think his value to the Eels though is quite high. From all reports he is loved by the players and is becoming a real leader. His form this year has been impressive, albeit only 5 games in, but what has really impressed is the hard stuff that he is doing. He is taking tough hit ups, dummy half runs etc, playing way above his weight.

    I think his re-signing is very important to the Eels, and I would hazard a guess to say that the other off contract players would be very interested in how this plays out. Keeping Gutho will help keep other guys. Losing him probably results in starting again as far as the rebuild goes.

    All that said, maybe $600-650K over a three year contract would be OK at this stage in his career. $650 may still be overs a bit, but I think his importance to the team outweighs that.

  2. If he is fit and we could get a full season out of him YES, that hasn’t happened to date. I think $600 is the magic number, with this said, the Eels need him to remain an Eel. It also depends on whether Anthony Griffin wants him in his side next year!!!

  3. He’d be worth it at a club that can share the workload. Agree with you eels47 for the workload he does. He’s not as skillful as Thurston but Gutho does almost the same amount of workload as JT did. Chase tackle pressure hit ups. If he was with a title contending team things would be different. If he’s not careful he’ll have shoulder problems knee problems neck problems and then money problems. If he drops off his intensity the Band wagon will say he’s done, and only worth 450k. Cowboys should spruke for him as FB, goal kicker and team leader. Martin ain’t workin and if kahu’s injured who kicks?
    Canberra of course would like his services because Sam William’s at the end of his 2 year cycle of rotation between Canberra and who ever sees his one top game. Ala Canberra, dragons, Catalan, canberra, trinity, canberra.
    Hoddo,Cesar,King Guth,Nico,Laypana,Coker. Pretty sweet back line and spine

  4. Oh and if Milford is supposedly a Million then Gutho would get Bill Gates type salary on value.

  5. And we agree again, although I took a slightly different tangent to arrive in the same place.
    My first thoughts were I like that there seems to be a balanced approach/process for player contracts, at last. By that, we didn’t just throw everything we had at a “core” player to build around, and that we are factoring risks into the amount/term, and being realistic (although at $500K. I’d argue a bit too harsh).
    That said, my second thought was, let’s start doing it after we’ve signed Gutho, but you’ve put a logical argument to support it
    Anyway, it appears we are offering $630K p.a for 3 years (they must have read your post, and split the difference ‘maybe $600-$650K)).

  6. I think the offer given is about right and I fully expect he will accept it.

    I was on the phone to Bernie and the boys this afternoon, seems they listened hey 🤣🤣🤣

  7. Hes worth no more than $600k but eels have to pay overs for players to stay there so $700k would do it for eels

  8. Maybe not the best article to bring Parra’s history up on.
    Parra does have a history of overpaying, but this is looking like a step towards change.
    “He’s worth no more than $600k”, and Manly will probably be bidding around there (albeit slightly under) for a centre. But wasn’t he on your books, and locked in for a further 2 years at around $250k, but moved on, by your current head coach, who is being paid to stay away from your club so your previously sacked head coach can take over, to make room to fit DC(F….ing)Expensive in at a starting rate of $1.25 mil p.a (to age pension age) who had just signed a medium term deal for $750k p.a at the Titans?
    But yes, it was all worthwhile because DCE is back to a rep player again, and may even hold onto it, until the younger guys are ready.

  9. Gutho back to the eagles, the only thing he wins at the eels is wooden spoons (15this year) where would you rather live and train, God’s country on the northern beaches or ……………

  10. I said Martin was no 5/8th when everyone was saying what a great buy he is for NQ. When he first went there. Glad to see everyone else has finally come around & can now see it too. At best, he’d make a decent centre.

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