Melbourne Storm halfback Matt Orford was the toast of Olympic Park tonight as he scored the matchwinning try with just 20 seconds remaining as the Melbourne Storm beat the Parramatta Eels 22-16 in a tough and thrilling encounter at Olympic Park this evening.
Despite a less than perfect beginnning where the Storm had winger Matt Geyer sent to the sin bin and conceded the first try, the Storm went to the halftime break with a 12-4 lead thanks to 2 tries by halfback Matt Orford and despite having to run into a stiff breeze in the second half looked like they were going to be too good for the Eels.
But a 78th minute try to Lee Hopkins converted by Luke Burt and it looked like the game was going into golden point extra time and then with 20 seconds to go Matt Orford finished a magnificent movement with the try that won the match for the Storm.
Other players that performed well for the Storm were 5/8th Scott Hill and the kid from Innisfail Billy Slater. For the Eels prop Fui Fui Moi Moi had a solid game.
Both sides however didn't come through the game unscathed as John Morris (broken leg) and Cameron Smith (Arm) both left the field injured and could be out for an extended period and Alex Chan (High Tackle) and Michael Vella (Kneeing) have been placed on report.
By the clock: 0 min: Kick Off
11 min: News: Storm winger Matt Geyer is sent to the sin bin for taking Eels winger Matt Petersen out of play without the ball.
11 min: Try-Eels: Eels centre Luke Burt takes advantage of a one man overlap to score in the corner. Burt is unsuccsessful with the conversion attempt. Eels 4-0.
19 min: News: Eels hooker John Morris leaves the field with an injury.
21 min: Try-Storm: Storm halfback Matt Orford takes advantage of a gap opening up due to his opposite number Chris Thorman rushing up too quickly in defense to score in the corner. Orford is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. 4 all.
26 min: Try-Storm: Matt Orford scores to bring up 700 career points after pouncing on a mistake made by Wade McKinnon off a grubber put in by Storm hooker Cameron Smith. Orford is successful with the conversion. Storm 10-4.
31 min: News: Eels interchange forward Michael Vella is placed on report for dropping his knees onto Storm fullback Billy Slater.
33 min: Goal-Storm: Storm halfback Matt Orford is successful with an attempt at penalty goal from 25 metres out right in front after Eels second rower Nathan Hindmarsh is penalised for interferring in the ruck. Storm 12-4.
Halftime Report: After a promising opening to the game the Eels have been dissapointing especially with their discipline. The Storm have been playing well but will 8 points be a big enough lead when they will have to run into a strong breeze in the second half.
46 min: News: After a number of looks by the video referee the Storm are denied a try after it is ruled that Matt Orford was in front of the kicker and did not retire the 10 metres.
51 min: News: Alex Chan is placed on report for making a high tackle on Eels second rower Nathan Hindmarsh while he was without the ball.
53 min: Try-Eels: Eels prop Fui Fui Moi Moi scores under the posts after pouncing on an offload from halfback Chris Thorman that went to ground. Luke Burt is successful with the conversion. Storm 12-10.
56 min: Try-Strom: After performing a good juggling act and a few looks by the video referee Storm winger Matt King scores in the corner after running onto a magnificent cut out pass from 5/8th Scott Hill. Matt Orford is unsuccessful with the conversion. Storm 16-10.
63 min: News: Storm hooker Cameron Smith is leaving the field with an arm injury.
70 min: News: Matt Petersen is down in backplay trying to stretch out a hamstring injury.
78 min: Try-Eels: Lee Hopkins burrows in for a try from dummy half and injures himself in the process. Luke Burt is successful with the conversion and brings up 500 career points. 16 all.
80 min: Try-Storm: Matt Orford scores the match winning try with just 20 seconds to go after running onto a great flick pass from 5/8th Scott Hill. Orford is successful with the conversion. Storm 22-16.
Fulltime Report: In a close and thrilling encounter both sides still have some concerns with the Eels losing John Morris with a broken leg and have Michael Vella placed on report for kneeing. For the Storm Cameron Smith has suffered an arm injury and Alex Chan has been placed on report for a high tackle on a player not in possession of the ball. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Orford (Storm) 2 - S Hill(Storm) 1 - F Moi Moi(Eels) -----------------------------------------