Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the finals clash between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels. Here’s how the game went.
|1st||Try Nathan Brown (Parramatta)||Parramatta 4-0|
|2nd||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 6-0|
|21st||Try Clint Gutherson (Parramatta)||Parramatta 10-0|
|22nd||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 12-0|
|29th||Try Suliasi Vunivalu (Melbourne)||Parramatta 12-4|
|31st||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Parramatta 12-6|
|32nd||Try Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne)||Parramatta 12-10|
|33rd||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Scores Tied 12-all|
|42nd||Try Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne)||Melbourne 16-12|
|43rd||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 18-12|
|49th||Try Blake Ferguson (Parramatta)||Melbourne 18-16|
|50th||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Scores Tied 18-all|
|54th||Try Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne)||Melbourne 22-18|
|55th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 24-18|
|57th||Try Brenko Lee (Melbourne)||Melbourne 28-18|
|58th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 30-18|
|61st||Try Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne)||Melbourne 34-18|
|63rd||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 36-18|
|66th||Try Shaun Lane (Parramatta)||Melbourne 36-22|
|68th||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Melbourne 36-24|
It was the perfect start for the Parramatta Eels: they found the try line in the first minute after the Melbourne Storm failed to secure the football from a Mitchell Moses bomb, allowing Nathan Brown to pick up the scraps and score the opener. The Eels were then faced with the tough news that Maika Sivo would miss the remainder of the game after picking up an injury. Meanwhile, the Storm failed to give themselves a chance at scoring points as the errors piled up for the home side. One of these errors led to a Parramatta try as the Eels shifted the ball right after an error from Josh Addo-Carr. Michael Jennings dragged two defenders to the sideline and, in similar fashion to Benji Marshall in 2005, flicked the ball back for Blake Ferguson, who broke a tackle and passed inside for Clint Gutherson to score the second try of the night.
Eight minutes later, Melbourne joined in on the action thanks to a line break from Ryan Papenhuyzen which put the Storm in Parramatta’s 20 metre zone. The Storm shifted the ball right through the hands of all the key playmakers and caught the Eels out for numbers as Brenko Lee drew Waqa Blake in and put Suliasi Vunivalu over for a try. The Storm weren’t finished there, after an offload from Kenny Bromwich put Justin Olam through a gap: he drew Gutherson in as he passed to Papenhuyzen, who raced away to level it for the Storm.
The Storm picked up where they left off as Kenny Bromwich broke through a tackle attempt from Moses; Bromwich then passed to Papenhuyzen, who threw a cut out ball to Addo-Carr to put the Storm up by six points. Melbourne came close to doubling their lead moments later as a Vunivalu try was disallowed after it was deemed that he had put his foot on the sideline. This was a big moment for the Eels: they got themselves into good field position a few minutes later and a great play from Reed Mahoney, who kicked out of dummy-half after the Storm defence rushed up, allowed Blake Ferguson to level it for the Eels. Melbourne responded almost immediately thanks to an error from Ferguson, which gave the Storm a full set of six in their own 20. Munster threw a flat ball to Jesse Bromwich, who cruised through the slack Eels’ defence to score his first of the night.
For the second time tonight, the Storm scored back-to-back tries within minutes of each other. It was another big shift to the right that created a try, similar to Vunivalu’s try earlier, but this time it was Brenko Lee who was rewarded with the four pointer as he took on Dylan Brown and Blake to put the Storm up by 12.
Melbourne continued their incredible second half as Munster picked up a loose ball and somehow burst through the Eels’ defence untouched and continued to pass the ball to Papenhuyzen, who had too much pace for Blake as he scored in the corner to extend the Storm’s lead. In the lead up play to the try, Eels winger Ferguson went down with an apparent knee injury and unfortunately joined fellow injured winger Sivo on the sideline. This extraordinary second half continued to deliver as the Eels pounced after they were awarded a penalty which put them in great field position. It was a simple try which saw Shaun Lane break a Jahrome Hughes tackle to keep his side in the contest with his first try of the night. The Eels tried their best to score points by throwing the ball around at will, but failed to break the Storm’s defence.
Melbourne will be stoked to earn a week’s rest as Cameron Munster will need every chance to be ready for the preliminary final after leaving the field with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Parramatta will play the winner of South Sydney and Newcastle next weekend.
Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen had a blinder as he helped Melbourne to a 12-point victory over the third-placed Eels. The 22-year-old was often in the right place at the right time tonight as both of his tries were scored as a support runner, highlighting his great positional awareness in attack. Papenhuyzen also recorded two try assists, showing his importance to the Storm side as he was directly involved in a total of four tries.
The speedster ran for a total of 251 metres, which included two line breaks as he accumulated the most run metres for the match, and was also the only player to surpass 200 run metres tonight. With a potential injury to Cameron Munster, the importance of Papenhuyzen is going to increase as he will have to pick up some of the slack that’ll be left by Munster’s absence in the side. The fullback will without a doubt be ready for anything that comes his way when they take on either the Sydney Roosters or the Canberra Raiders in two weeks time.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tino Faasuamaleaui 17. Nicho Hynes 22. Chris Lewis.
Parramatta Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown. Interchange:14. Will Smith 15. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Marata Niukore.