No Munster, no worries! Storm lose star in big win

Embed from Getty Images
Melbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels

The Storm and Queensland Maroons will be sweating on the availability of Cameron Munster after the star five-eighth went down injured in Melbourne's 48-16 win over the Parramatta Eels on Sunday afternoon. 

Munster went down clutching at his groin late in the first half and was then pictured laying on the ground in agony shortly after, having aggravated the issue once again in a tackle. 

The 29-year-old was sidelined until Round 5 earlier this year with a groin complaint.

With Munster joining Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen on the sidelines, the second half was expected to be a solid test of Melbourne's famed system and the resolve of Craig Bellamy's side.

They ended up passing it with flying colours as Parramatta dropped four consecutive games for the first time in a season since rounds 19 to 22 in 2021.

The Eels put themselves under plenty of pressure early in Sunday's game, with Blaize Talagi failing to defuse Melbourne's first last-tackle kick of the game while Will Penisini later coughed up possession close to the Parramatta line.

The visitors were able to weather that early storm but another turnover, this one on an unnecessary offload, saw Harry Grant later send Tui Kamikamica over for the opening try.

Nick Meaney's conversion went wide, leaving the score at 4-0 after eight minutes, but Paramatta tied things up soon after after capitalising on an error from Melbourne.

On that occasion it was Will Warbrick spilling a bomb, with some subtle ball-playing from J'Maine Hopgood opening up space for Bailey Simonsson to score in the 16th minute.

Sean Russell's unsuccessful conversion left the game level before Warbrick made up for the mistake in the 26th minute, scoring a sensational solo 40-metre try as he swatted away defenders.

Suddenly the Eels found themselves trailing 16-4 after the Storm scored off their next set, with quick hands sending Xavier Coates down the right touchline and he found Harry Grant trailing in support.

Parramatta looked on the brink of being blown away but were able to hit back in the 34th minute as Talagi caught out the Melbourne defence off a scrum play, scoring what was a relatively simple but well-executed sweeping play. 

That left the score at 16-10 entering halftime, although it quickly ballooned out to a 26-point difference in a matter of minutes as a ruthless Melbourne went on with the job without Munster.

An early penalty goal pushed the lead out beyond a converted try before Grant scored his second of the night, with Reimis Smith then grabbing two of his own in the space of four minutes.

Eli Katoa soared above Maika Sivo to score Melbourne's eighth try of the game before the Eels winger went over late as young Eels fullback Talagi sent another reminder of just how talented he is, producing the looping try assist.

The Storm take on the Sea Eagles next week while Parramatta face South Sydney.

Melbourne Storm 48 - Parramatta Eels 16

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Milton / Yuggera-Turrbal
Crowd: 47517
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 16 Parramatta Eels 10 Players of the Match:
3 points - Harry Grant
2 points - Sualauvi Faalogo
1 points - Eliesa Katoa

Tries: Tui Kamikamica, William Warbrick, Harry Grant (2), Reimis Smith (2), Xavier Coates, Eliesa Katoa
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Nick Meaney (5/6), Reimis Smith (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Nick Meaney (1/1)

Tries: Bailey Simonsson, Blaize Talagi, Maika Sivo
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Sean Russell (1/2), Daejarn Asi (1/1)
Penalty Goals:

See how it happened in our Match Centre