The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have been defeated 26-22 by the Melbourne Storm in a powerful comeback at AAMI Park.
In a rocky first half the Blue and Gold were in trouble early, unable to collect the kick-off, giving the Storm a bonus attacking set.
And the young Storm side capitalised, creating a right-side overlap to send winger Suliasi Vunivalo over in the right corner, taking a defender with him.
Parramatta came close, with Leva Li bundled into touch just short of the line, but it took 25 minutes for the young Eels to find their rhythm. Piggybacking on a great break from Alec Bush, the Storm defence stopped Zach Dockar-Clay from finishing the job, but using the momentum Ruan Matterson took matters into his own hands to barge over and level the score.
It seemed that Halauafu Lavaka pulled off a miracle put-down in the corner to extend the lead, but he was denied by the video referee, and it was Tepai Moeroa who took the score to 12-4 via a barging effort just before halftime.
Heading into the second half with an eight-point lead, the young Eels put pressure on the Storm through a Nathan Davis try, and another four-points courtesy of Jack Anderson from a Zach Dockar-Clay kick.
But with a swift run from Jake Turpin, the Storm began mounting a second-half comeback, reeling back the Parramatta lead try by try. Charlie Galo followed his lead with a four-pointer of his own, and with 13 minutes on the clock Tony Tumusa’s effort brought the scoreline to 22-20.
Francis Tualau was the man to finally nose the Storm back in front, defeating the Eels 26-22 in front of a small but vocal home crowd.
Melbourne Storm - 26 (Vunivalo, Turpin, Galo, Tumusa, Tualau. Munster: 3/5)
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 22 (Matterson, Moeroa, Davis, Anderson. Davis: 3/4)