Parramatta adamant Souths upset shows off the real Eels
Clint Gutherson insists the side that beat South Sydney are the real Parramatta, adamant the Eels can still be a force against any side in the NRL.
Parramatta have endured their worst start to a season since they last missed the finals in 2018, but stood up to shock Souths 36-16 on Friday night.
The win leaves the Eels two wins outside of the top eight, desperately needing to keep winning through the State of Origin period before a tricky run home.
Such has been the way of Parramatta's season after last year's grand final loss, they will not finish the round any higher than 13th but have the fifth best for-and-against in the competition.
They are also the only side to beat the NRL's top two teams in Penrith and Souths this year, with Friday's even more of a shock given it came in Indigenous Round.
"That shows the team we can be," Gutherson said.
"We went to golden point with Melbourne, beat Penrith, beat these guys tonight. So that's the team we are - and we know we are.
"It's just about doing it and not having those little lapses in games which were costing us."
Gutherson also stressed it was important Friday night's victory could breathe life back into the Eels and ignite the group, after several other false dawns in 2023.
"It has to. We have to string a few together," Gutherson said.
"Our confidence has been there. A few things haven't gone our way in a few of the losses and the results probably haven't shown how we've played and team we are.
"It's been a bit frustrating that way, but a win like that gives you a lot of confidence."
Parramatta do have some concerns, with their back-row curse continuing.
Already without Shaun Lane for the next two months, Andrew Davey will miss their clash with North Queensland with concussion.
Fellow backrower Ryan Matterson is also sent for an extended stint out with a calf injury suffered in the win over Souths.
The Eels should pick up Joe Ofahengaue from Wests Tigers as part of a mid-season move, with prop Junior Paulo bound for NSW State of Origin camp.
Lock J'maine Hopgood is also a chance of being picked for Queensland, adding even more stress to the Eels' depleted pack.