The Parramatta Eels have come up with one of the upsets of the season, holding strong against an injury-hit Melbourne Storm at Parramatta Stadium tonight. The Eels triumphed 18-16 in front of 10,804 fans.
With their season all-but over, the Eels threw caution to the wind early while maintaining intensity in defence to post the first two tries, Jeff Robson scoring the first with a long range effort helped by Jarryd Hayne, while the other four-pointer in the first half was a result of the brute strength of Fuifui Moimoi close to the line.
The only big challenge the Storm made in terms of scoring points was a freak effort from Ryan Hoffman batting the ball back off an unusual bounce, but Hoffman was ruled to be outside the field of play. The Eels' defence otherwise held strong and denied every other Melbourne attacking raid thrown at them.
It was in the second half when Melbourne stamped their authority on the game, despite the absence of playmakers Cam Smith and Brett Finch, the Storm got themselves back into the frame with a try to Ryan Hoffman, reducing the margin to just four points.
Not long after the Eels were awarded a penalty in front 30m out and opted for the two points, then the set from the kickoff eventuated in a length-of-the-field try as the ball wound through the hands, ending up with Todd Lowrie after a freakish Krisnan Inu pass on the last. The Eels were suddenly 12 points clear and looked well in control.
It wasn't to last though - the Storm always one for a comeback. First a try in the corner for Dane Nielsen following a clever kick from Billy Slater - not converted, then with just three remaining some inside running saw the ball sent wide for Joseph Tomane to score. He quickly converted from the sideline and the Storm had one hundred metres to go with just over a minute left. Some chance plays ultimately came up empty and the Eels held on for a famous victory, one all the sweeter for Parramatta legend Nathan Hindmarsh who played his 250th game in the blue and gold tonight.
Both teams have Saturday night appointments next week, the Eels head to ANZ to take on the Bulldogs, while the Storm head home and will face the Cronulla Sharks.
Match Details Parramatta Eels 18 def Melbourne Storm 16 Round 19 - Monday July 20th, 2009 07:00pm Venue: Parramatta Stadium Referee: Ashley Klein & Bernard Sutton Sideline Officials: Steve Carrall & Luke Potter Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 10,804 Halftime: Eels 10 Storm 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Eels v Storm forum discussion - click here!
We're at Parramatta Stadium for the last match of Round 19 - the Eels facing the Melbourne Storm at home tonight. Big changes, but only for Melbourne - Cam Smith and Brett Finch have both succumb to injury and will not start. Dallas Johnson shifts to hooker for Smith, Aiden Tolman comes off the bench and into lock. James Maloney replaces Finch at five-eighth. Jeff Lima will start in place of Brett White who remains a little sore from Wednesday's Origin match. The new bench player for Melbourne is Northern Territory product Luke Kelly in jersey 20, the captaincy is assumed by halfback Cooper Cronk.
EELS: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Luke Burt 3. Krisnan Inu 4. Joel Reddy 5. Eric Grothe 6. Daniel Mortimer 7. Jeff Robson 8. Nathan Cayless (c) 9. Matthew Keating 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Joe Galuvao 13. Todd Lowrie Interchange: 14. Kevin Kingston 15. Broderick Wright 17. Tim Mannah 21. Ben Smith STORM: 1. Billy Slater 19. Dane Nielsen 3. Will Chambers 4. Greg Inglis 5. Joseph Tomane 14. James Maloney 7. Cooper Cronk (c) 17. Jeff Lima 13. Dallas Johnson 10. Adam Blair 11. Sika Manu 12. Ryan Hoffman 16. Aiden Tolman Interchange: 8. Brett White 15. Scott Anderson 18. Matthew Cross 20. Luke Kelly
Kickoff not far away, stay tuned.
Kickoff: Play begins for what is Parramatta second-rower Nathan Hindmarsh's 250th NRL game. Eels are in their blue strip, Melbourne their white away strip.
2 min: An enthusiastic start from the Eels, some monstering defence from Krisnan Inu on Melbourne's first hit-up.
7 min: More fantastic defence from the Eels keeps the Storm to an entire set inside their own 30m. The kick isn't deep from the Storm and the Eels will have the ball short of halfway.
8 min: Tackle two and they spread the ball, a poor pass bounced off Burt and into touch. Storm have the attacking chance now.
9 min: The Storm looking good on the last, they had the overlap with Grothe coming in on Inglis, the ball away to Tomane - it's forward though.
10 min: PENALTY Eels - alleged strip by the Storm... very odd one - the ball didn't come out.
12 min: TRY Parramatta Eels A FANTASTIC try from the Eels, a chip from Cooper Cronk finds Eric Grothe who starts steaming up-field, he gets it outside to a flying Jarryd Hayne, who gets as far as halfway before throwing it inside to a charging Jeff Robson who runs the final 45 metres to score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 4-0
14 min: Melbourne have a chance to hit straight back with the ball in attacking position but a knock-on cruels their chances.
17 min: A good set from the Eels from their own end finishes with a good kick from Jarryd Hayne, they trap Tomane in-goal.
19 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Eels try Fuifui Moimoi! He's barged his way over, just check the grounding. Decision pending.
20 min: TRY Parramatta Eels The repeat set is too much for the Storm defence to hold out, Fuifui Moimoi charges at the line and bounces of a couple of white & purple jerseys to plant the ball down. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 10-0
23 min: Tremendous kicking from the Eels halves so far tonight, keeping Billy Slater under immense pressure and trapping the Storm deep in their own half. Very comprehensive from the Blue & Gold so far.
25 min: Parramatta's attacking raid ends with a Jeff Robson grubber just trickling dead. Storm with the 20m restart now.
28 min: Joseph Tomane in a collision in the in-goal with Ben Smith as they both contest the ball. He's landed but hasn't got up. Looks a bit dazed as he finally gets to his feet. He had fielded it in goal on the full though, 20m restart.
29 min: PENALTY Storm - Ben Smith takes a Storm player high and now the visitors will go right on the attack.
30 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try An effort to match Justin Hodges from last week, Hoffman jumps up after a high bouncing ball eludes Eric Grothe, but he looks to be outside the field when he takes the leap. Decision pending... NO TRY. Eels drop out though.
31 min: Greg Inglis knocks on from the drop-out. Terrible hands.
35 min: A Storm error will give the Eels a fantastic chance to add more points before halftime.
36 min: The ball goes wide to Eric Grothe, a HUGE cut-out pass to him and he takes on the defenders, Billy Slater teaming with the outside men, and they put Grothe over the sideline.
37 min: PENALTY Eels - laying around in the play-the-ball... then marched ten for knocking the ball away. Storm now with a chance to hit back.
38 min: The Storm's effort ends with a tricky grubber beating everyone over the touchline near the corner post.
39 min: Melbourne's final chance ends with a grubber through that Jarryd Hayne grounds in-goal.
HALFTIME: Parramatta Eels 10 Melbourne Storm 0 A dominant first half from the Eels sees them in front by ten. Their defence has been intense, something that's been missing most of the year from the boys from Parramatta. The Storm are simply missing their masterminds in Smith and Finch, but don't count them out yet...
We're underway for the second half.
42 min: Melbourne kick through and an Eels error sees them with another six deep on the attack.
44 min: Another good set from the Storm but the Eels defuse the last-tackle bomb. One play later and it's PENALTY Eels, not back the ten. The Eels will start this set from halfway.
47 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Luke Kelly manages a try assist with his first touch in first grade, putting Ryan Hoffman through a gap close to the line to score the Storm's first today. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Parramatta Eels 10-6
49 min: Ouch, Cooper Cronk puts it out on the full attempting a 40/20. Eels scrum-feed within striking distance.
51 min: PENALTY Eels - Storm holding down the tackled player and the Eels will have a shot at two.
52 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels Burt puts the extra two on the board following the penalty. Parramatta Eels 12-6
53 min: The voices raise at Parra, plenty of voice behind the Eels as they surge up-field, they're on the attack heavily here...
55 min: TRY Parramatta Eels The Eels go the length of the field in the set from the previous kick-off, beautiful hands from everyone and the ball finds it's way out wide on the fifth, Inu running at the line before flicking it back inside and finding Todd Lowrie who gets past one or two defenders to plant it down. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 18-6
59 min: Some stunted play in sight of the line from the Eels but they control it to get to tackle four, where a Robson grubber pressures Slater enough to run it dead. Line drop-out Storm, another set for the Eels.
61 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Eels try Inu may have made a double movement here... this could go either way. Decision pending... NO TRY - Double movement ruled. PENALTY Storm.
63 min: A good chance for Melbourne here but the Eels defence holds strong. PENALTY Storm now as the fifth tackle play ends in a mess and the Eels get frustrated with the refs.
64 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try Sika Manu has gone over for Melbourne but it looks pretty convincingly held up, Klein and Sutton aren't in a position to see it, upstairs we go... NO TRY.
64 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try Another look upstairs just ten seconds later. From the play the ball they go to the other wing and it's an each-way bet on whether Hayne or Tomane has grounded it... NO TRY. Line drop-out Eels, another set for Melbourne.
65 min: They just can't convert the glut of possession into points Melbourne, some great defence from the Eels, whose supporters will be wondering where this spirit and passion has been all year.
68 min: Melbourne just can't hold the ball, Parramatta will resume attacking from within their own half now.
69 min: The Storm with a scrum on their own ten metre line then a massive break, Slater finds himself with it on halfway but the pass to him wasn't great and Jarryd Hayne is able to wrap him up. First tackle for Melbourne 40m out on the attack now!
70 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try Slater's put it through the Eels line toward the corner, Dane Nielsen wins the race to the corner and grounds it... Decision Pending...
71 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The try is awarded to Nielsen... now for the kick from Joseph Tomane, it... goes... wide. Eight the difference. Parramatta Eels 18-10
72 min: Melbourne steaming up the park and they manage to get to Parramatta's 40m line before hoisting a bomb, Inu and Hayne both preparing to take the high ball, Inu backs away at the last moment and Hayne takes it. PENALTY against the Storm, a few players in front of the kicker went in for the tackle.
74 min: Inglis reels in Parramatta's fifth tackle kick and the pressure is off for the visitors.
75 min: Massive defence from the Eels forces an error from the Storm on their own 40m. Eels on the attack.
76 min: Hayne comes up with a bizarre kick on tackle four that goes less than two metres into the arms of Cooper Cronk. Melbourne now to battle out of their own half.
77 min: PENALTY Storm - Hindmarsh taking Slater out after he kicks it earns Melbourne a last chance at redemption.
77 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try Checking on obstruction and grounding for a Storm try in the corner. It's touch-and-go. Decision pending...
77 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Tomane is over in the corner, he has the ball placed before the video referee decision ready for the kick... and Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Parramatta Eels 18-16
79 min: With 90 metres to travel the Storm do their best, surging up-field tackle after tackle... it goes wide on the last, a kick in-field... but it's taken by Hayne and that's the ballgame.