Eels hold off Storm with 18-16 NRL win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels hold off Storm with 18-16 NRL win

By Ian McCullough 20/07/2009 10:22:41 PM Comments (0)

A Jarryd Hayne-inspired Parramatta have kept alive their flickering finals aspirations with a 18-16 NRL victory over a fast-finishing Melbourne Storm in an entertaining encounter at Parramatta Stadium.

In the battle of the game's two best fullbacks in Hayne and Billy Slater, the Eels produced a spirited display both in defence and attack to inflict a sixth defeat of the season on the 2007 premiers.

Hayne played a key role in two of his side's three tries as Daniel Anderson's men tasted victory for only the sixth time this year, in front of a raucous crowd of 10,804, as they held off a late rally from the Storm.

Tries from Jeff Robson (12th minute) and Fuifui Moimoi (20th) gave the Eels a 10-0 lead at halftime.

Hayne was at his brilliant best for Parramatta's opening try as he managed to keep in touch after a surging run, before flicking a pass to Robson who raced through to score.

Moimoi then bulldozed over from close range with Luke Burt converting to stretch the advantage.

The Storm were forced to do without the services of skipper Cameron Smith who was ruled out with a shoulder injury and former Parramatta halfback Brett Finch who failed to recover from the punctured lung he sustained in the round 17 clash with Newcastle.

Dallas Johnson made a decent fist of filling in as an emergency hooker for the night, but the Storm badly missed their talismanic skipper as the Eels dominated the opening stanza.

The Storm started the second half strongly, pinning the home side back in their own half in the early exchanges before Ryan Hoffman crept through a gap in the Eels' defence after being teed up by debutant Luke Kelly on 49 minutes.

Joseph Tomane's conversion reduced the deficit to four points, but that setback galvanised the Eels who extended their advantage to 12-6 through a Burt penalty goal five minutes later.

Todd Lowrie then added a third try (54th) for the hosts after finishing a sparkling set instigated by Hayne, his side going out to a comfortable 18-6 lead.

But it proved to be the final score for the Eels as the Storm demonstrated all of their battling qualities with two tries in the final 10 minutes, and also having two tries ruled out by the video referee.

Dane Nielsen reacted fastest to a Slater grubber to score on 71 minutes and Tomane made it a nervous finale with a converted try after going over in the right-hand corner.

The result was a memorable one for Nathan Hindmarsh, who was celebrating his 250th appearance for the club.

Anderson revealed after the game that Hindmarsh refused to run out to a line-up from both sides in recognition of his landmark.

"It was great for Nate's 250th game that we won and the boys played for 80 minutes and mirrored what he does every week," Anderson said.

"We tried to make it a milestone occasion but he didn't want to know. He thought we were all going to run out behind him but we let him run 20 metres and then stopped," Anderson said.

"I wanted to have two lines for him to run out to but he wanted to have a goal kick which was never going to happen!"

Storm coach Craig Bellamy had no complaints with the result and admitted the closeness flattered his side.

"We got off to a slow start and they were quicker to do everything in the first 20 minutes, but I thought our effort was good," he said.

"We had a few younger guys in the team and were down in numbers and I thought we lacked intensity and speed."

Bellamy also revealed Dallas Johnson (neck) and Ryan Hoffman (hamstring) picked up injuries and are doubtful for Friday's clash with Cronulla, with Smith also unlikely to recover in time for the Sharks' visit to Olympic Park.

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