2 days ago
Cameron Smith among four injured as Storm outlast Eels
The Melbourne Storm have overcome a string of injuries to temporarily move to the top of the ladder with a 20-4 win over the Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park.
The biggest news to come out of Friday night's game is a potential back injury to Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith, who failed to return in the second half.
Smith may be joined by Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (ankle) and Brandon Smith (knee), with all not finishing the match.
To their credit, the Storm showed incredible courage to surge to a 16-point victory despite the casualties. Conversely, Parramatta failed to take advantage of several opportunities in the Melbourne half and were guilty of going sideways far too often close to the line.
The Storm, however, played far smarter and were first to post points in the 7th minute when Will Chambers pounced on a Billy Slater grubber.
Parramatta appeared to have hit back shortly after, only for Corey Norman to have the try pulled back for an obstruction. The Eels were frustrated early as they struggled to execute in attack and they found themselves trailing 10-0 at the break off the back of two Melbourne penalty goals.
After running in seven tries against the Dragons last week, the expectation was that the Eels would eventually run over the top of the wounded Storm. However, it was actually the home side who crossed over for the first try of the second half when Asofa-Solomona barged over several defenders in the 47th minute.
Parramatta still had plenty of chances to strike back but halves Jaeman Salmon and Mitchell Moses were unable to take control, leaving coach Brad Arthur frustrated at his side's inept attack.
Even with Cameron Munster sent for a ten-minute stint in the bin, the Eels were still unable to trouble the scoreboard. Instead, only two minutes after he returned the Storm extended their lead when Curtis Scott went over in the 71st minute.
There was one late highlight for Parramatta fans though, with Clint Gutherson diving over for a miraculous try in the corner off a lovely cross-field kick by Brad Takairangi. Ultimately, the home side held on for a 20-4 win to surge up to top spot on the ladder while the Eels find themselves back in last place.
Next week the Storm will look to keep their minor premiership hopes alive when they travel to take on the Titans on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, Parramatta clash with North Queensland in the 2018 Spoonbowl on Friday night in what will be Jonathan Thurston's final game at 1300Smiles Stadium.
Melbourne Storm 20 - Parramatta Eels 4
Venue: AAMI Park
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 10 Parramatta Eels 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Brodie Croft
2 points - Jesse Bromwich
1 points - Nathan Brown
MELBOURNE STORM (20)
Tries: Will Chambers, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Curtis Scott
Conversions: Cameron Smith (1/1), Brodie Croft (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (2/2)
PARRAMATTA EELS (4)
Tries: Clint Gutherson
Conversions: Mitchell Moses (0/1)