17/04/2024

Ryan Papenhuyzen celebrating a try. Photo: melbournestorm.com.au

The old powerhouses clash with the new on Thursday night as Melbourne Storm hit the road to take on Parramatta Eels.

The old powerhouses clash with the new on Thursday night as Melbourne Storm hit the road to take on the Parramatta Eels for another instalment in this growing rivalry.

The Storm will head into the clash unchanged, while the Eels add back-rower Marata Niukore to their squad after completing his two-game suspension.

It was a tale of two halves for both teams in their round one victories.

The Storm started strong, putting on four unanswered tries in the first half only for the Rabbitohs to post the next three, closing the margin and undoing the Storm’s dominant early play.

While the Eels recovered from their mistake-riddled start, scoring four unanswered tries in the second half to secure an eight-point win against the Broncos.

Both teams will need to clean up their performance heading into this likely top-four worthy fixture.

The Storm will need to be able to run the game out, whilst the Eels will have to reign in their error tally as the Storm will make them pay otherwise.

Storm superstars Ryan Papenhuyzen and Cameron Munster will prove hard to handle after their round one performances.

Papenhuyzen crossed the line twice, ran for 174 metres and converted five of his six field goals, while Munster did his best to fill the shoes of the recently retired Cameron Smith by controlling the game through the middle of the field. 

The Eels however, relied heavily on their forwards for their comeback victory. 

Regan Campbell-Gillard (118 from 12 hit ups) and Isaiah Papali’i off the bench (180 metres from 15 hit ups) began to turn the tide while Reed Mahoney and Junior Paulo crossed the line for tries. 

This game is poised to be a defining game in the make-up of this year’s top four, considering that these two teams last faced off in last year’s Qualifying Final.

If that entertaining and high scoring game can be replicated, we will be in for yet another enjoyable instalment of a budding rivalry. 

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