Cowboys bow to The King in crushing loss
THERE was nothing and no one that was going to stop Clint Gutherson keeping his throne.
The man they call The King was not going to let anyone deprive him of a dream 100th NRL match - whether that be a barnstorming Jason Taumalolo or a returning Valentine Holmes.
Parramatta's skipper has been a revelation since Eels halfback Mitchell Moses succumbed to a calf injury against the Canberra Raiders.
His cool and collected approach nailed the match winning field goal in that clash, and against North Queensland it was his decisive running game and picture perfect passing that delivered for the home side.
Along with four tries from destructive Fijian winger Maika Sivo and a composed effort from Dylan Brown it all coincided with a ruthless output.
Every facet of Gutherson's game were on song early in the second half.
A dicing line break ended with him being tackled deep in enemy territory, before he finished the set with one of three floated cut out passes to put Sivo over for his second try for the night.
Three try assists, three line break assists, a line break, six tackle busts, 222 running metres and seven goals sums up the masterclass.
Cowboys' coach Paul Green said during the week that confidence in defence was what would lead to confidence in attack, however it was the blue and gold outfit that embodied that.
When Jake Clifford forced a drop out in the third minute, the visitors got an opportunity for back to back attacking sets, which was followed by another after a Michael Jennings knock on.
But they were unable to capitalise, and from there the Eels confidence grew.
Parramatta five-eighth Brown forced a drop out of his own, before Gutherson's precise cut out pass for Jennings opened proceedings 11 minutes in.
'King Gutho' was not done with there.
After some decisive runs coming out of trouble, the Eels captain threw yet another immaculate long ball close to the line - this time for Sivo's first - to extend the lead to 10.
The Cowboys were being suffocated of possession.
At times with ball in hand they looked promising - their middle men were making strong metres and Scott Drinkwater had some threatening moments.
Even after Waqa Blake extended the Eels lead to 16, the North Queensland left edge continued to make inroads in the opening 40 minutes, before Drinkwater finally found his money ball to put Tom Opacic over on the stroke of halftime.
But the momentum did not carry into the second term, with Eels half Jai Field crossing from the opening set of the resumption.
Brown was equally dominant for the home side, taking the reigns of the Eels for the first time with Moses on the sidelines.
His three try assists and pinpoint kicking game kept the Cowboys on the back foot as he perfectly complemented his skipper in a dynamic Bankwest Stadium display.
For North Queensland, after showing such promise against the Newcastle Knights, it's back to the drawing board.
Parramatta Eels 42 (M Sivo 4, M Jennings, J Field, W Blake tries; C Gutherson 7 goals) def. North Queensland Cowboys 4 (T Opacic try)