2023 NRL Round 1: Storm 16, Eels 12

The 2023 season got underway with Melbourne Storm continuing their incredible first round winning record with a 16-12 Golden Point win over Parramatta.

Result

Melbourne Storm 16
Tries: Nick Meaney 46 min, Young Tonumaipea 62 min, Harry Grant 83 min
Goals: Nick Meaney 2 (47 min, 63 min)

Parramatta Eels 12
Tries: Will Penisini 29 min, Junior Paulo 58 min
Goals:
Mitchell Moses 2 (4 min – pen, 59 min)

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The Melbourne Storm have continued their unbeaten first round run from 2002, with a hard-fought Golden Point win over last year’s beaten grand finalists Parramatta in the season opener, where Harry Grant was the star.

The first points of the season came courtesy of an early penalty to Parramatta, but in general the first half was a fast-moving, entertaining game of rugby league, with some expected early-season errors and penalties as teams got used to match day again, with the Storm earning the anger of their famously grumpy coach by making more than the Eels.

But try scoring was at a premium, and after a few false starts for Maika Sivo, the first try of the season was eventually scored through Will Penisini. This was not long after Melbourne had lost Cameron Munster – he left the field around the 30-minute mark with what looked to be a broken arm, later confirmed as a compound fracture of his wedding ring ringer. Despite that, Munster returned to the field for the second half.

The score was 6-0 to Parramatta at the half-time break, a lead they arguably deserved.

It didn’t take as long for the second half’s first try as Melbourne scored their first through Nick Meaney close to the posts to even up the game in the first 10 minutes. From there, the game opened up, with Harry Grant in particular causing trouble up the middle for the Storm.

The teams exchanged tries around the 60th minute mark as Parramatta retook the lead through a powerful Junior Paulo charge to the line, only for Young Tonumaipea to reply a few minutes later, which left the score at 12-12. From there the game became quite the battle, resembling a war zone at time as the Storm’s Eliesa Katoa and Tonumaipea both suffered cuts to the head, looking like extras in a war film. But after the pulsating final minutes of regular time, which featured bombed tries and failed field goal attempts, the teams couldn’t be separated, and the first conflict of the 2023 season needed Golden Point to find a winner.

The match was finally decided in the 83rd minute when Grant scampered over from dummy half – scoring a try when the field goal looked the obvious choice. It was a high quality start to the season, with hopes every Thursday night can open up the NRL weekend with equal drama and excitement.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 – Harry Grant (Storm)
2 – Josh Hodgson (Eels)
1 – Jahrome Hughes (Storm)

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