There is method to what some would call Gutherson’s madness. If you’re not playing football to try and win a premiership ring, why bother playing at all?
“If you’re not playing footy to win the comp, you’re not playing for the right reasons,” Gutherson said. “You want to be winning comps. You want to do it the hard way, the easy way, you just want to get out there and rip in and put your body on the line.
“If you’re not going out there in the finals at the back end of the year and trying to prove everyone wrong and win it for yourself, you’re in it for the wrong reason.
“You go out every single game and put your body on the line to try and be in that game on the first weekend of October. That’s the belief we have at the moment and us older or leadership boys are really driving it.
“We have (Blake Ferguson) and (Michael Jennings) who have been there before and they are driving that belief in yourself and hopefully it rubs off and we can be there or thereabouts.”
Ferguson will make his long awaited return against the Broncos on Friday night after picking up a knee infection which left the NSW Origin star in intensive care.
“It’s massive. It’s another front rower on the wing and someone coming out of the back field that just loves playing footy,” Gutherson said of Ferguson’s return. “He’s been out for five or six weeks now and he’s been (chomping) at the bit to go for the last couple of weeks.
“Luckily enough we could win a few games there and give him a few extra weeks but I think you would have seen by the way he was acting that he just wants to get out there and rip in. He’s running around training, screaming, yelling, having a joke. That’s when you know he’s back.”
Ferguson dropped 10kg in the weeks after suffering the infection. He has put half of that weight back on and now feels he can be the difference between the Eels failing to fire a shot come finals time and delivering on Gutherson’s premonition.
“I don’t think Brad would be picking me if I couldn’t make a difference,” Ferguson said. “I’ll just go out there and do my job. I won’t be doing anything spectacular. I’ll just be doing the same old as what I’ve been doing the last few years.
“To be honest, I’m probably feeling a lot better than I did last year leading into the back end of the year. I’m feeling pretty good and just happy to be back.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.