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Eels fall short in golden point thriller

The Eels suffered a devastating golden point loss to Melbourne Storm in the NRL season-opener.

The thrilling match was decided by a Harry Grant try in extra time, earning the Storm a 16-12 victory and breaking Parramatta hearts.

There were plenty of promising signs for the season ahead however, with Will Penisini and Junior Paulo scoring tries while the Eels’ new recruits enjoyed promising club debuts.

The first half was a cagey affair, with an early Mitchell Moses penalty goal the only play to separate the sides after half an hour.

After applying copious pressure to Melbourne’s goal line and coming close through Isaac Lumelume and Maika Sivo, the Eels found the breakthrough in the 30th minute.

Clint Gutherson beat two players on the short side, before firing a pass for Will Penisini to score the first try of the 2023 NRL season.

Eels score the first try of 2023!

The Eels took a 6-0 lead to the sheds, but the Storm equalised early into the second half when Nick Meaney poked through a gap in the Eels’ goal-line defence.

With the game hanging in the balance, Maika Sivo took matters into his own hands. The winger slammed Jahrome Hughes into touch, and the Eels immediately found a breakthrough.

Some crafty work close to the line and a gorgeous pass by Josh Hodgson sent Junior Paulo storming for the try line, and the prop muscled his way to find the turf.

Paulo powers over the line!

Moses’ conversion from a wide angle put the Eels ahead 12-6.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona was denied an immediate response by the bunker, but it would only delay the Storm as they scored through Young Tonumaipea from a scrum.

Nick Meaney landed the sideline conversion, setting up a grandstand finish at 12-12.

With five minutes remaining, a Storm error inside their own half invited the Eels to go in for the kill. Mitchell Moses lined up a field goal attempt, but it was charged down by the Storm.

A missed one-pointer attempt by Cameron Munster in the dying seconds set in motion a frantic final passage of play, but the Eels defended their way into golden point.

The Storm had another missed field goal attempt early into extra time, but the visitors finished the job with their next possession.

With the Eels defence retreating, Harry Grant jumped out of dummy half and planted the ball down next to the uprights for the match-winning try.

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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