A try by Harry Grant in the first period of Golden Point has secured victory for the Melbourne Storm over a tenacious Parramatta Eels by 16-12 in the first match of the 2023 Telstra Premiership.
Parramatta put its first points on the board this season in the fifth minute of play after Mitch Moses was fouled illegally by Eli Katoa. Moses promptly added a penalty goal to give the Eels the early 2-0 advantage. The rest of the opening twenty was both sides bombing good chances.
Parramatta went closest to scoring when Maika Sivo thought he had yet another try at CommBank Stadium. But it was denied when Ash Klein found the last pass to be forward. Melbourne would suffer a major blow when Cameron Munster went off with a compound dislocation to his wedding ring finger and would depart midway through the first half but would return after half-time.
Parramatta would cross for the first try with eight minutes remaining in the first half where they capitalised on a Melbourne error. Clint Gutherson summed it up and drew in the suspect Melbourne left edge to find Will Penisini to cross for try 1 of 2023. Moses hooked the kick to keep the margin at six. The Storm had plenty of try-scoring chances but kept failing at the final moment and was facing an uphill battle, but they were only down 6-0 at the change of ends.
Melbourne started the better of the two sides in the second forty minutes. Off the back of back-to-back penalties. The Storm struck back six minutes in the half. Off Harry Grant, it was a clever pass from Josh King and Nick Meaney crossed for the Storm's first try of 2023. The scores were level for just twelve minutes.
Following a crushing tackle from Maika Sivo on Jahrome Hughes, it was a clever short ball from new buy Josh Hodgson to Junior Paulo who runs the best part of 20 metres to score Parramatta's second. Moses converted to keep the margin at a converted try. More problems developed for the Storm when Xavier Coates left the ground with a shoulder injury.
The margin was reduced shortly after when Isaac Lumelume was crushed by big Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Off the ensuing scrum, it was Munster magic to find Young Tonumaipea out wide, Meaney's kick from touch was successful and it was 12-12. What can only be described as a chaotic final fifteen minutes took place with both sides bombing opportunities to take the first victory of 2023 which saw us head to Golden Point.
Both sides had opportunities but a spillage inside Parramatta's half gave Melbourne a golden opportunity. Instead of shooting for the victory, Harry Grant ran out of acting half to give Melbourne a Round 1 victory and keep their impressive opening round streak alive.
Match Highlights #NRLEelsStorm
The Melbourne Storm dug deep to down Parramatta 16-12 in golden point at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night, stretching coach Craig Bellamy's remarkable round one winning streak to 20. pic.twitter.com/yyg136apju
— NRL (@NRL) March 2, 2023