Young Eels Fall Short in Comeback
The Round 9 clash in the Holden Cup saw the Melbourne Storm defeat the Parramatta Eels 34-32 at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Eels were first on the board in the third minute through a try to winger Abbas Miski in the corner.
The visitors were able to force a line drop out, and the repeat set proved too much for the Eels defence when Zion Ioka broke through to score the visitors first try of the day in the 9th minute.
Nathan Davis was able to make a break on the wing through some space created by the Eels but lost the ball and was unable to find the line.
Another line drop out seemed to get the Storm rolling again as the visitors crossed for their second try in the 17th minute when Ben Nakubuwai charged straight under the posts. Hooker Mack Mason converted to take the visitors lead to 10-4.
An error from the Storm off the first set gave some attacking field position to the Eels with a chance to strike back.
Tepai Moeroa offloaded to Nathan Davis who set up Atini Gafa, crossing in the corner for Parramatta’s second try of the day, as they trailed 10-8 after 21 minutes.
The arm wrestle continued for the next ten minutes, as both teams were unable to find the line.
The visitors were back on the scoreboard again after a repeat set 10 metres out saw Latrell Robinson score out wide in the 35th minute, extending Melbourne’s lead to 14-8.
The Storm were on the board again with seconds of the first half remaining, when fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad crossed over the line. Mack Mason successfully converted, taking the lead out to 20-8 at the break.
The Eels came out of the blocks firing in the second half when Moeroa offloaded to Davis who made a break on the wing. Abbas Miski crossed over the line but the referee ruled a no try as Miski was injured in the tackle and lost control of the ball.
The Storm looked likely to be the next to score, crossing the line twice but both attempts were ruled no try due to forward passes.
Captain Alex Twal put his side back in the game, charging over for a try in the 61st minute and with Nathan Davis adding the two, the Eels trailed 20-14.
The Storm hit back through a long range try to Tony Tumusa, who ran 50 metres to score the Storm’s fifth try for the afternoon, taking their lead out to 24-14.
A cross-field kick set up Storm winger Latrell Robinson for his second try of the afternoon as he scored in the 60th minute.
The floodgates opened with 15 minutes left, as Tony Tumusa found the line again. Mack Mason successfully converted to take the Storm’s lead to 34-14.
The Eels weren’t finished, scoring through Josh Aloiai in the 68th minute. Nathan Davis converted which saw the home side trail by 14 with 10 minutes remaining.
Back to back points saw the Eels close the gap, as Abbas Miski caught a bomb and passed to Michael Doolan who scored under the posts for the home side. Davis’ conversion saw the Eels trail the Storm 34-26 with 7 minutes remaining.
Atini Gafa was back on the scoreboard after he crossed in the corner from the first set off the kick off. Nathan Davis converted from the sideline to trail the visitors by two points with five minutes remaining.
With momentum and the blue and gold crowd behind them, the Eels had just over four minutes to steal the win off the Storm. However, the comeback proved to be too late for the Eels, as the siren sounded and the score remained 34-32 to the Storm.
Melbourne Storm - 34 (Ioka, Nakubuwai, Robinson 2, Nicoll-Klokstad, Tumusa 2. Mason: 3/7)
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 32 (Miski, Gafa 2, Twal, Aloiai, Doolan. Davis: 4/6)