Storm beat Eels 23-16 in NRL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm beat Eels 23-16 in NRL grand final

By Steve Jancetic 04/10/2009 10:40:05 PM Comments (0)

Sequels rarely outdo the original but Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy declared his side's 23-16 grand final win over Parramatta his sweetest triumph as the Storm joined the pantheon of great teams with their second NRL premiership in three years.

Looking to put an exclamation point on four straight grand final appearances that had yielded one victory to date, the Storm withstood a furious Eels fightback to confirm their standing alongside the Parramatta sides of the early 1980s and Brisbane sides of the 1990s.

Bellamy said the win didn't prove anything in his eyes, rather it was just icing on the cake of what was already an extraordinary effort.

"To make these four grand finals was a huge effort that - (greatness) is for other people to judge," Bellamy said.

"I just know tonight I could not have been more proud of what this club has done the last four years.

"They produce when it counts - whether we won tonight or not - I couldn't be prouder of them.

"As far as a coach goes this is probably the best feeling I've had as a coach to be honest. To me it is (the sweetest).

"Back in 2007 we went through as minor premiers easily and we had a wonderful side that year. This is a wonderful side too but there's a lot of unknowns.

"It's nice to prove people wrong when they're not saying nice things about you or they're not giving you any chance."

A controversial decision by referee Tony Archer to penalise Eels prop Fuifui Moimoi in the 76th minute for holding down Billy Slater in a tackle when the Storm fullback spilled the ball proved a killer when Parramatta was on a roll after two quick tries.

But Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson admitted his side had given Melbourne too much of a start as the Storm surged to 22-6 after 58 minutes.

"We had a go but we were punished for our mistakes. They didn't make that many breaks but when they did make them they scored," said Anderson.

"They are a great side. They do that."

Slater was named Clive Churchill Medal winner as he outpointed Parramatta rival Jarryd Hayne, but in truth the award could have gone to any number of players.

There were plenty of heroes for the Eels as well - with Nathan Hindmarsh coming up with a remarkable 63 tackles and Moimoi showing no regard for self preservation with bell-ringing tackles and charges including a stunning 20 metre burst through several defenders to score the try that saw the Eels close within six points with eight minutes remaining.

Much like their remarkable run to the grand final, the Eels left it late to start their charge, but there was no fairytale ending to this Cinderella story as Greg Inglis capped a wonderful game with a field goal shortly after the Moimoi penalty to ice the win for the Storm.

The vast majority of the 82,538 crowd - the biggest since 2001 when the Eels last made it to a grand final - had been willing the Eels on in their comeback, with Storm captain Cameron Smith admitting to more than a few nerves.

"I was going to call for the trainer to get a change of speedos," Smith said.

Having snowballed their way into the grand final on the back of 10 wins from their last 11 matches, the Eels initially went to water on the biggest stage with the Storm scoring after just five minutes through Ryan Hoffman, who blasted past halfback Jeff Robson in defence.

Having been brilliant against the Bulldogs last week, Robson was a target in defence, and it seemed to affect his attacking game with the Eels let down by poor last play options.

The Storm were showing the benefit of their grand final experience and it was no surprise when Cooper Cronk found a gap and put Adam Blair over for a 10-0 lead which they took to the halftime break.

The Eels came out strongly after the break with Moimoi leading the way with some punishing defence - and it carried through to their attack with Eric Grothe slamming it down for a 10-6 scoreline.

Melbourne weren't about to give this away however and they hit back with a double blow through their two superstars, Inglis and Slater scoring thanks to some sensational lead-up work by Cronk.

Eels centre Joel Reddy pulled down a bomb to score and get the Eels comeback underway in the 70th minute before Moimoi crossed two minutes later.

But the Storm were not going to let this match slip after being pasted 40-0 by Manly in last year's decider.

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