Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson crossed for his first career hat-trick as the big names combined to put a poor Knights side to the sword with a 43-12 win at CommBank Stadium last night.
Both sides traded tries early before the Eels produced eight line breaks in the first half to set up a 30-6 lead against a Knights outfit that missed 65 tackles throughout the contest.
Marquee men Dylan Brown and Mitchell Moses crossed for tries before Gutherson fooled a clumsy Knights defensive line at dummy half twice to cross for a double.
He had a treble by the 46th minute as the Eels let slip a few more opportunities throughout the evening.
Knights coach Adam O’Brien opted to start Kalyn Ponga at five-eighth, a move that backfired with the representative star missing 10 tackles throughout the contest.
A fifth try before half-time via Sean Russell set up a 24-point lead and the Knights never looked threatening in the second half to entertain a comeback despite a try to Dominic Young in the 63rd minute.
Gutherson’s third of the evening, finishing off another Moses linebreak, ensured the Eels secured a much-needed win leading into their Magic Round clash with the Titans.
A late offload from J’maine Hopgood helped the Eels to their seventh of the evening through Junior Paulo under the posts.