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The Parramatta Eels outmuscled the Storm 22-14 at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night to climb into the top four and set up a mouth-watering qualifying final clash with premiers Penrith.

Coming into the game equal with the Storm on 32 competition points but well down on for-and-against, Brad Arthur's produced their most important victory of the season to earn themselves a double chance in the finals.

The blue and golds will now get the chance to avenge a controversial 8-6 loss to the Panthers that ended their season in week two of last year's play-offs.

After a tense opening 12 minutes on Thursday night a forward pass by Jesse Bromwich gifted the Eels field position and five-eighth Dylan Brown capitalised with a sweet-stepping try from close range.

Bouncing Brown opens the scoring

Cameron Munster then put the kick-off out on the full and the Eels marched downfield again and looked to have grabbed their second only for Marata Niukore to be held up over the line.

Come the 23rd minute and the Storm created a chance for Xavier Coates on their right edge but the winger was bundled into touch by Maika Sivo in cover.

The Eels extended their lead to 8-0 in the 31st minute when a short dropout by Munster failed to go 10 metres and Moses converted the easy penatly goal from right in front.

Penisini powers over

Four minutes into the second half the home side went up 14-0 when Will Penisini finished off a slick right side raid and Moses added the extras to send the raucous CommBank Stadium crowd into a frenzy.

The Storm went down a man when Kenny Bromwich failed a HIA and try as they might they were unable to crack the resolute Eels defence.

Grant weaves his way over

Eels skipper Clint Gutherson put his stamp on the match in the 61st minute when he put tryscoring machine Sivo away down the left wing with a brilliant long pass. Moses' sideline conversion made it 20-0. 

With 13 minutes to play the Storm opened their account when Harry Grant exploded out of dummy half and planted the ball down for his seventh try of the season.

Another mistake by Munster on a short dropout gave Moses another easy penalty shot and the party was in full swing at 22-4.

Munster exploded through a hole with three minutes to play to put Nick Meaney over for a try before David Nofoaluma grabbed another one but Munster missed a simple conversion to leave the final score at 22-14.

Among of host of stars for the Eels, big men Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo ran for 401 metres between them from 41 powerful carries.

Brown has it on a string

"When they start really well and they play physical and they play tough, the team plays that way, and that's the responsibilty they carry," Arthur said post-match of his two bookends.

"I think they're world class front-rowers and I love them as a pairing and we're so glad they're here at our club."

Moses rocks Bromwich

Match Snapshot

  • Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona was placed on report in the 24th minute for late contact on Mitch Moses after a clearing kick.
  • Storm halfback Cooper Johns left the field in the 27th minute for a HIA which he passed.
  • This is the first time since 2014 that the Storm have finished outside the top four.
  • Reagan Campbell-Gillard laid the foundation for the Eels with 13 runs for 123 metres in the opening half.
  • The Storm were forced to make 61 more tackles than the Eels in the first half.
  • Cameron Munster did everything in his power to get the Storm home with 17 runs, 176 metres, eight tackle breaks and two line breaks.

Another Justin Olam special

  • Storm forward Kenny Bromwich left the field in the 51st minute for a HIA which he failed.
  • The Eels have won five of their past six games against the Storm.
  • Eels winger Maika Sivo has scored 36 tries in 36 games at CommBank Stadium.
  • The Eels have now beaten the Storm and Panthers twice in 2022.
  • Harry Grant tackled up a storm for Melbourne with 55 stops for the game.
  • Storm winger David Nofoaluma took his career tally to 99 tries.

Plays of the Game

Will Penisini came up with a magnificent trysaving tackle on a rampaging Justin Olam just before half-time and followed up early in the second half with his eighth try of the season. Bringing Olam down with a legs tackle close to the line is no easy task for any centre but the 20-year-old Eel was up to the task. His defence was rock solid all night and his try helped the home side stretch their lead to 14-0 which would prove a bridge too far for the Storm.

How did he stop him?

What They Said

"The serious part starts now, we know what's ahead of us next Friday. We're looking forward to another fantastic opportunity for us. For 76 minutes we dominated the game but we got taught a good lesson [in the last four minutes] because you can't do that, especially when we come to next week. It's a new ball game next week and Penrith are going to be nice and fresh and rested at home bit it's something we are looking forward to." - Eels coach Brad Arthur

Eels: Round 25

"We've had a pretty tough run the last month in the teams we've played. We've played good teams that are up the top and three out of the four weeks we have travelled so we might be a touch fatigued perhaps from that but it is what it is. Even tonight we are disappointed how we performed at certain stages but I think the boys have done the club really proud this year to get where we've got to. We've had some guys come in that haven't played much first grade. guys like Marion Seve has come in and turned into a real first-grader, so there's been some positives in that way, but it has been tough finding some players at times. I still think the players have done a tremendous job." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Storm: Round 25

What's Next

The Eels have secured fourth spot and wil play the Panthers in week one of the finals with the winner progressing to a preliminary final. They have now given themselves a great shot at ending their premiership drought that stretches back to 1986.

The Storm now look set to finish fifth and will most likely host old foes Canberra in an elimination final.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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