The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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All the pre-match talk centered around how many points the near full strength Eels would win by, and they must have been reading their own press as the Storm opened up a 10-0 lead after fifteen minutes, with tries to Sika Manu and a long range effort from Joseph Tomane. Parramatta hit back with three converted tries in thirteen minutes to take an 18-10 lead into half time.
In the 47th minute Manly bound winger Tony Williams was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on opposing winger Brett Anderson, however the Storm were unable to capitalise on the one man advantage as the score remained the same until the 61st minute when Sika Manu crossed for his second try to bring the Storm within two points and a chance of a massive upset. Parramatta replied with a try of their own to Krisnan Inu and looked safe again at 24-16.
Stand-in skipper Cooper Cronk had other ideas though as he eased through some poor defence to set up a grandstand finish but in the end Luke Burt's perfect record with the boot proved the difference, the Storm putting up a great fight but falling two points short.
Next week the Eels take on the Panthers at home, while Melbourne will welcome back their Origin stars as they head back down south to take on the Raiders at Olympic Park.
Parramatta Eels 24 Tries: Taulima Tautai, Tony Williams, Joel Reddy, Krisnan Inu Goals: Luke Burt (4/4) Melbourne Storm 22 Tries: Sika Manu (2), Joseph Tomane, Cooper Cronk Goals: Cooper Cronk (1/2), Steve Turner (2/2)
EELS 1. Luke Burt, 2. Taulima Tautai, 3. Krisnan Inu, 4. Joel Reddy, 5. Tony Williams, 6. Feleti Mateo, 7. Brett Finch, 8. Nathan Cayless, 9. Mark Riddell, 10. Josh Cordoba, 11. Nathan Hindmarsh, 12. Daniel Wagon, 13. Chad Robinson. Reserves: 14. Matthew Keating, 15. Todd Lowrie, 16. Weller Hauraki, 17. Brendan Oake. STORM 1. Steve Turner, 2. Brett Anderson, 3. Joseph Tomane, 4. Jeremy Smith, 5. Sam Joe, 6. Matt Geyer, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jeff Lima, 9. Russell Aitken, 10. Scott Anderson, 11. Antonio Kaufusi, 12. Sika Manu, 13. Adam Blair Reserves: 14. Liam Foran, 15. Kevin Proctor, 16. Aiden Tolman, 17. Clifford Manua, 18. Sinbad Kali, 19. Lucas Miller. (2 to be omitted).
TEAM CHANGES - STORM Sinbad Kali will come onto the bench in place of Clifford Manua. TEAM CHANGES - EELS As per program.
1 min: Cooper Cronk kicks off and we are underway
3 min: First attacking chance for Parramatta as they receive a penalty for an indiscretion at marker
4 min: VIDEO REF: Possible try to the Eels
4 min: NO TRY - Try to Tony Williams disallowed for obstruction
12 min: The Eels get a great chance after a mistake by the winger Anderson, however Inu can't keep hold of the ball and may have injured himself in the process
14 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Joseph Tomane runs the length of the field to score after Parramatta throw away a supreme chance to score down the other end. Conversion attempt by Cooper Cronk successful. Melbourne Storm 10-0
19 min: VIDEO REF: Possible try to Parramatta
22 min: Eels receive a penalty after Brett Finch is hit after kicking, however Sam Joe intercepts for the Storm and the pressure is off
26 min: Another penalty to the Eels after Joel Reddy is taken out in backplay, Parramatta on the attack
31 min: Parramatta get another penalty for a late hit on the kicker, Eels attacking
38 min: The Eels throw a forward pass giving the Storm a chance to hit back before half time
39 min: Six more tackles for Melbourne, their last chance to score before the half time hooter
40 min: The pressure is off as the Storm lose the ball forward
41 min: Kris Inu starts the second half
47 min: SIN BIN: Tony Williams is sent to the sin bin for taking out Brett Anderson
48 min: The Storm are help up and get a repeat set after Reddy is tackled in goal
49 min: The Eels are down to eleven defensive players as Joel Reddy is being attended to for a blood bin
51 min: Brett Finch shows a cool head, kicking the ball into touch to chew up some time until Williams returns from the sin bin
55 min: The Storm blow a great chance after a Cooper Cronk chips and regathers but the play ends with a forward pass
57 min: Tony Williams returns from the sin bin
60 min: Parramatta are struggling to hold the ball, as Riddell spills it after what looked like a promising attacking chance
61 min: VIDEO REF: Possible try to the Storm
64 min: Eels get another penalty for roughing up the kicker, Eels with a great attacking chance
71 min: Parramatta now have a chance to put the game to bed, they get a penalty and are on the attack 20 meters out from the try line
73 min: VIDEO REF: Possible try to Parramatta
73 min: NO TRY: Luke Burt scores in the corner but is disallowed for obstruction
79 min: Cronk kicks into touch and the Eels should be safe from here
80 min: FULL TIME: Parramatta run out very unconvincing winners by 24-22. Penalties: Eels 7-3