CAPTAIN Clint Gutherson could only look on in horror as his shocking attempt to put the ball dead essentially killed off Parramatta's season.
The Eels crashed to a 20-12 defeat against bitter rivals Canterbury, featuring Kiama products Josh and Brett Morris, on Friday night, and the loss left them anchored at the bottom of the NRL ladder with the finals now little but a pipedream.
Gutherson tried his heart out all night, but his horrible airswing at a Josh Jackson grubber with just eight minutes on the clock will haunt him.
With the teams locked up at 12 apiece, Gutherson attempted to clear Jackson's kick with his left boot but missed, and Adam Elliott was on the spot to score.
Canterbury were lucky to be awarded a repeat set in the first place after the referees and bunker were convinced George Jennings had a foot in the field of play when he defused a Matt Frawley chip kick.
Rather than starting a set on their 20m, the Eels were forced to defend their line.
While Parramatta fans might blow up over the call, they will know their struggling team had plenty of other chances to win this one.
Canterbury also made plenty of breaks but could not land the knockout punch.
As Phil Gould said during Channel Nine's commentary, the 15,683 fans at the ground were watching two proud clubs who had simply forgotten how to win.
That explained their positions on the ladder coming into the popular derby.
Gutherson has had a tremendous impct on the club and playing group since he recently returned from a knee injury.
Some of that same playing group were in tears in the sheds after the loss.
"I haven't spoken to him [Gutherson] yet, but every player will go through their career making an error they're not proud of, but that's what it is,'' Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
"We're not giving up. We're here for the long haul and here for the fight.
"We have to stop with the talking and start putting it on the field, but we ain't giving up.
"You can definitely see in the sheds there is plenty of hurt.
“We've got grown men after a football game that have been brought to tears, that's how important it is to them, and while it's important to you, and if you keep chipping away and working hard, it will turn, but it needs to happen, and we need to make it turn.''
Parramatta will do it tough drawing a crowd at the same Sydney Olympic Park venue next Friday night when they host the New Zealand Warriors.
Beau Scott departed early with a shoulder injury and did not return, while Daniel Alvaro, Parramatta's best forward, knocked himself senseless when attempting a tackle just after the hour.
Canterbury, who came close a week earlier against Brisbane, will at least take some confidence into their game against Cronulla in the Shire next Sunday afternoon.
Dogs coach Dean Pay afterwards: "We had a bit of luck, but we haven't had a lot of late, so it was nice to get a bit. There were a couple of periods in that game we worked really hard, they threw a fair bit of ball at us, so it was good.''
The Dogs started the match with a penalty goal and soon raced to an 8-0 lead when Brett Morris was able to cross in the left corner.
Mbye noticed the Eels defence rush in and threw a lovely cut-out ball for Josh Morris, who quickly shuffled the ball to his twin.
Parramatta quickly hit back through Gutherson after some beautiful lead-up work from Brad Takairangi and Bevan French.
Takairangi drew three defenders and snuck the ball to French, who exploded off a standing start and was able to throw the ball back inside for Gutherson.
Gutherson then turned provider for French to score five minutes later to give the Eels the lead for the first time.
The Eels spirits were up and it looked only a matter of time before they crossed again.
They were given three straight penalties while camped on the Dogs line, but a Gutherson pass was too tough for French to grasp and all the pressure was relieved.
The Morris twins did well for Canterbury, as did Raymond Faitala-Mariner, the big backrower with bigger hair who played on one leg heading into half-time but went on to run for more than 100m.