It wasn’t pretty, and it was far from convincing, but the Parramatta Eels ended their hoodoo against the Melbourne Storm with a 14-0 victory at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night.
First-half tries to Waqa Blake and Maika Sivo, as well as two penalty goals in each 40 by Mitchell Moses was all Parramatta needed to get a rare win over an under-strength Storm side.
“The last 20 minutes I’m not happy with,” Eels coach Brad Arthur told Nine post-game.
“I thought we created some opportunities and line-breaks and instead of just taking the tackle and try and get them on the next play. We’ve just got to learn from those.
“We’re still a bit clunky in a few things we’re doing.”
The Storm were without a handful of their big name stars and it showed as they struggled to assert themselves against the Eels in attack.
Parramatta squandered many chances too, but they did enough to get a much-needed win against a side they have lost their last four encounters against.
“It’s a big step towards a top four finish, but there’s still so much work to be done,” Eels legend Peter Sterling said on Nine after the game.
“The most impressive thing is the nil scoreline [by Melbourne].
“It’s a win, an important win but It does point out Parramatta still have a long way to go.”
Man of the match Nathan Brown said the team have been working hard on their defence over the last month and they were rewarded on Thursday night for those efforts, despite a dis-jointed attack struggling to put much pressure on Melbourne.
“We’ve still got a lot of improvement to do,” Brown told Nine post-game.
“Our Errors with the ball wasn’t good enough. But we’re back here next Thursday .
“Keeping them to nil was good.”
Arthur said he was “not sure” about the prospect of resting any Parramatta players as they lead in to the finals nearing the top of the NRL ladder.
“It’d be hard to convince any player to have a rest. We’ll try and look after them,” he said.
“We came out of it healthy. I thought that we defended pretty strong. Our defensive line was good and we moved together and that’s what we focused on.”
There will also be a nervous wait with the match review committee for Melbourne.
Cooper Johns – nephew of Andrew Johns and son of Matthew Johns – had a quiet NRL debut but he was put on report fro a crusher tackle on Maika Sivo, as was Albert Vete and Justin Olam could be in trouble for a coat-hanger hit on Mitchell Moses.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona was also sin-binned for a shoulder to the face of Marata Niukore.