The moment Eels star J’Maine Hopgood dropped his club captain Clint Gutherson on his shoulder during the key – as fans got into a ‘mate against mate’ clash
Parramatta team-mates clashed in the tunnel with Gutherson getting just three minutes of action while Hopgood, part of an extended squad, did not play.
Parramatta stars Clint Gutherson and J’Maine Hopgood proved the slogan ‘state against state, mate against mate’ was alive and well when they clashed at half-time in the Blues’ win on Wednesday night.
Hopgood – who was in Queensland’s extended squad but didn’t play – was caught on camera landing on the shoulder of his club captain, who came on for the Blues in the latter stages of the match.
The Eels lock stepped into Gutherson’s path as he came up the tunnel at half-time, made solid contact and flashed a cheeky smile before knocking him to his left.
Parramatta fans had a field day on social media after seeing the footage.
Hopgood (right) puts his shoulder to Gutherson (back to camera) as he walks up the tunnel at half-time on Wednesday night.
The Eels captain (played by Xavier Coates in three games) was knocked to the side by the impact of his club-mate.
‘It’s mate vs mate, he’s not there so this is his only chance to give his club captain,’ wrote one.
‘Calm down! They play opposite sides. It’s back to business over the weekend,’ added another.
‘Hopgood had a smile on his face, just egging Gutho on,’ wrote a third.
Gutherson saw just three minutes of action in the win, coming on for winger Josh Addo-Kar when he injured his hamstring shortly before full-time.
This led some fans to joke that the two pitch attackers who briefly disrupted the match had more playing time than the Eels captain.
Hopgood is yet to make an appearance for the Maroons after featuring for the Queensland Under-18 and Under-20 sides.
‘As the 19th man in this camp, I’m just looking forward to gaining experience and, hopefully down the track, running out with the guys in the jersey,’ he said shortly after being selected in the extended squad.
Hopgood moved a step closer to his dream of playing for the Maroons when he made the extended squad – and hitting a Blues star without even taking the field won’t hurt his chances of seeing some Origin action.
Gutherson got just three minutes of game time in the Blues’ 24–10 win, with some fans joking that even the pitch attackers saw more of the field.
Even without taking the field, shouldering the charge on the Blues star probably won’t hurt his chances.
The clash brought back memories of another famous Origin incident between two Parramatta stars.
Maroons captain Arthur Beatson famously destroyed his NSW rival and Eels teammate Mick Cronin in the first Origin game at Lang Park in 1980, a hit that went down in footy folklore and played a big part in making the new interstate concept a success.
Fast forward to the 1990s and Canberra Raiders stars Mal Meninga and Steve Walters (Queensland) often clashed with Laurie Daly, Ricky Stewart, Bird Clyde and Brett Mullins (NSW) in battles between cockroaches and cane toads.