On Friday night the Eels turned the tables on the Storm and reversed the result of last year’s controversial Grand Final with a decisive 24 – 10 win at Parramatta Stadium.
In a rematch of the 2009 Premiership decider, the angry Eels showed the Storm exactly what they thought of their salary cap scandal and held strong for their sixth win of the season, making up for their poor form of the previous two rounds.
At first the small local crowd of just 7,570 fans gave the Storm a respectable welcome, but it wasn’t long before the burned blue and gold fans started to get more vocal and hostile.
And on the field the fervour and fury reached boiling point too when the two star fullbacks Slater and Hayne came head to head, literally, mid way through the second half in the 62nd minute.
In an incident that had both players put their Origin careers in jeopardy, the two No. 1’s locked heads after Slater fired up about Hayne’s tackle. Caught up in the moment, Hayne put a headbutt to Slater and the two wrestled on the ground as a brawl began around them.
Hayne was put on report and still awaits the announcement of whether or not he will be suspended and miss Origin II Wednesday week because of the incident.
Moments later it was on again as Slater put an elbow to Hayne in a tackle and was sent to the sin bin, as was the Eel’s Daniel Mortimer who got caught up in the fight.
Going back to the start of the match, it originally looked like it would be a replay of the Grand Final when the Storm were first to score, Slater getting across in the seventh minute after pouncing on a Cronk grubber. Cameron Smith, back from injury, converted and the visitors lead by six less than 10 minutes in.
The Eels tied the score six all in the 25th minute after a Krisnan Inu try was converted by Luke Burt, who had a sensational game kicking 4 / 5 and having his hand in a late try after a brilliant crossfield kick.
This was followed just six minutes later when Parramatta’s Joel Reddy scored either side of the break. Reddy’s first came in the 31st minute so they held a 10 – 6 lead going into half-time. Then he backed this up in the second half, completing his match double in the 56th minute.
Luke converted the second and the Eels extended their lead to 16 – 6. Five minutes later the Eels were awarded a penalty after the Storms Brett White took out Fuifui Moimoi who was without the ball, and Burt successfully kicked for two more points.
10 minutes after the emotional encounter between Hayne and Slater, Parramatta scored their final try when Kris Keating got over, the conversion giving them a total haul of 24 points.
With one minute left on the clock the score looked complete, but Greg Inglis was able to get a consolatory try in for Melbourne so the board read 24 – 10 at full time.
This weekend the Eels have a bye, which they will enjoy after the intensity of Round 13, while Melbourne host the up-and-down Roosters at AAMI Park. To get the best odds on the game head to Ladbrokes.com.au.