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Parramatta were the surprise victors the last time these two sides met, in Round 20 last year at Parramatta Stadium.

The match was notable as the last at the helm for sacked Eels coach (and former Storm assistant under Craig Bellamy) Stephen Kearney. The match also saw the return from injury of Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne whose wide-running hold and pass put winger Ken Sio over after eight minutes.

Hayne was also in the thick of things 12 minutes later when his grubber put second-rower Ben Smith over, with the try surviving a referral for a dubious grounding from Smith.

Melbourne repeatedly threatened to hit back and dominated the majority of the remainder of the half but could find a way over until right on the stroke of half time.

Relentless goal-line pressure told as Cooper Cronk shifted the ball for Rory Kostjasyn to score and make it 10-6 at the break.

The second half was a largely dour affair as both sides struggled to click in attack. Eels centre Willie Tonga left the field injured midway through the half before halfback Chris Sandow finally sparked the first scoring play of the second half 10 minutes out from fulltime. A sharp run at the line was followed by a deft offload to put retiring legend Nathan Hindmarsh over and stretch the Eels’ lead to 10.

Tragedy struck for the Eels shortly after when Hayne’s season was finished as he went down awkwardly in a tackle and was stretchered off with a knee injury, and things almost got a lot worse when the Storm crossed out wide through Ryan Hoffman inside the final three minutes.

However despite a couple of missed field-goal attempts in the frantic final 10 minutes, the Eels hung on to win 16-10.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours 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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