A dejected Clint Gutherson after the Eels' loss.
A dejected Clint Gutherson after the Eels' loss.

‘At a loss’: Angry claim for dudded Eels

PARRAMATTA have refused to concede their NRL final hopes have been snuffed out following their controversial 20-12 loss to Canterbury.

Having lost eight of their first 10, the Eels face having to win 10 of their last 14 to play September football this year.

In recent years, 28 points has been the traditional cut-off for eighth spot. But with each side having just one bye this year, the magic numbers is expected to drop to 26, meaning Arthur's side can only afford to drop four games if they are to reach that mark.

They will also be forced to buck history.

Only two sides have recovered two wins or less in the opening 10 rounds to make the finals.

The 2006 Eels (2-8) and the 1999 Brisbane Broncos (1-1-8) are the only sides to recover from such a horror start.

"We're not giving up and we're here for the long haul," coach Brad Arthur said.

"We're here for the fight and we can see that in them.

"We've got to stop with the talking and start putting it on the field. "But we ain't giving up. We're not rolling over."

The Eels were on the wrong end of two highly contentious and crucial calls on Friday night.

First, the Eels were denied a Michael Jennings try when the centre was ruled to have knocked on as he pounced on a Bevan French grubber into the in-goal in the 55th minute.

Video replays suggested Jennings' one-handed slapdown of the Steeden brushed the ball forward, however, still frame shots of the put-down appeared to show Jennings putting downwards pressure on the ball as it hit the turf.

They were also on the wrong end when George Jennings was ruled to have caught a Matt Frawley bomb in the field of play.

With the minutes winding down, Jennings was forced into the in-goal and the referees ordered a drop-out.

Replays, however, appeared to show Jennings place his boot on the tryline as he caught the ball.

It proved a turning point.

The Dogs scored the 77th-minute match-winner in the next set through Adam Elliott on the back of a Clint Gutherson howler.

A dejected Parramatta's Clinton Gutherson after an unforgettable blunder.
A dejected Parramatta's Clinton Gutherson after an unforgettable blunder.

Gutherson had a wild air swing at the ball with his boot which allowed Elliott to pounce.

Asked if his side had been robbed, Arthur said: "I've only seen the screen in the box so I can't make a comment.

"It was close.

"Oh well, it is what it is."

He also refused to condemn Gutherson for his failure to clean up what was a regulation grubber.

"Every player during their career is going to make an error that they're not going to be proud of," Arthur said.

"It is what it is.

"He did some good things when we controlled the game."