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‘Shocker’: Eels star from ‘hero to zero’

A rollercoaster of an NRL final has seen end-to-end action and plenty of tries, but a brutal injury toll has hit both teams hard. news.com.au October 4, 2020 6:16AM Last updated October 3, 2020 9:31PM AEDT The Melbourne Storm have continued its perfect record against the Parramatta Eels in finals football with a seventh win…

A rollercoaster of an NRL final has seen end-to-end action and plenty of tries, but a brutal injury toll has hit both teams hard.

news.com.au

October 4, 2020 6:16AM

Last updated October 3, 2020 9:31PM AEDT

The Melbourne Storm have continued its perfect record against the Parramatta Eels in finals football with a seventh win from seven games in a 36-24 result in the side’s qualifying final.

It sees the Eels set to take on the winner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon.

Watch the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals on Kayo. Every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

The Eels started perfectly, scoring inside the opening minute before a try that rugby league great Greg Alexander called “One of the great final tries”.

It started as the Storm crossed their own 40m line but knocked on, with the Eels immediately going on the counter attack.

Clint Gutherson went across field and threw a ball to Michael Jennings who put on the afterburners before a Benji Marshall-esque flick pass to Blake Ferguson. Ferguson then took off for the line but passed it back to Gutherson when he was going to be tracked down.

Fergo ➡️ Gutho 🔥

This was beautiful to watch 😍 🙌

📺 Stream #NRLStormEels: https://t.co/ewnAUpCe4a 

📝 Live blog:  https://t.co/Oiy6Om6JFI

📱Match Centre: https://t.co/n4DE0bw9xu pic.twitter.com/IpJhIoRtrh

— Fox League (@FOXNRL) October 3, 2020

It was a huge try but the Storm were never going to lay down.

Romping back to score two tries before halftime before one on the other side of the break to take the lead.

The Storm were causing all kinds of havoc throughout the game and missed several tries that could have made it more comfortable.

But the Eels hit back with a try through Blake Ferguson, after hooker Reed Mahoney kicked for the winger on the first tackle to set up the try.

The honeymoon was soon over though with Ferguson making a meal of a kick behind the line, with the Storm scoring from the ensuing scrum from 10m out.

“Ferguson had a shocker,” Andrew Voss said. “Oh my goodness Blake, you’ve given your coach a heart attack. And every Parramatta fan.”

Ferguson from hero to zero in a flash. #NRLStormEels

— Alexander Grant (@AlexGrantOz) October 3, 2020

The Storm really made the Eels pay, making it three tries from eight minutes.

The night got even worse for Ferguson when he disastrously left the field after the third try as he tried to make a tackle on Justin Olam.

He hooked his leg around to try and get the centre down with Olam falling and twisting his leg in an ugly incident.

It was a horror finish to his night – and quite possibly his season.

He wasn’t the only one, with the Eels’ other winger Maika Sivo heading off in the first half. Eels coach Brad Arthur saying he thinks he’s “done” for the season on a brutal blow on his birthday.

However, Arthur said he wasn’t sure about Ferguson’s injury.

The Storm also had Cameron Munster limp from the field.

The five-eighth threw his mouthguard once he left the field of play a sign Cooper Cronk said was a bad because of the star’s toughness. Munster has had several knee injuries this season. But it was reportedly just a “tweak” of his MCL injury. He said himself it was a knee clash and that he would be getting scans to make sure it was fine.

As hoped initial assessment from the Storm suggests a “tweak” (minor sprain) of Cameron Munster’s MCL, expected to be fit for preliminary final in 2 weeks time #NRLStormEels pic.twitter.com/xz9vsqCk4b

— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) October 3, 2020

The Eels scored again late but couldn’t pressure the Storm any further with the 12-point result sending Melbourne to the preliminary final, while the Eels will likely be missing troops for a sudden death final next Saturday.

Updates


Andrew McMurtry

The Eels had leveled up the game through Blake Ferguson, but just minutes later, he’s made a big blunder.

With the Storm attacking the line, Ferguson made a meal of a kick over the top from Cameron Munster losing a bouncing ball he would be expected to pick up into touch.

He was far from happy with himself.

“Ferguson had a shocker,” Andrew Voss said. “Oh my goodness Blake, you’ve given your coach a heart attack. And every Parramatta fan.”

With a scrum 10m out, the Storm scored through Jesse Bromwich.

The Storm really made the Eels pay, making it three tries from eight minutes.

Disastrously, Ferguson left the field after the third try as he tried to make a tackle on Justin Olam.

He hooked his leg around to try and get the centre down with Olam falling and twisting his leg in an ugly incident.

It was a horror finish to his night – and quite possibly his season.


Andrew McMurtry

The Parramatta Eels have hit back after a Reed Mahoney grubber found Blake Ferguson unmarked on the wing.

The Storm were defending their line and rushed up with the Eels hooker kicking on the first and finding Ferguson unmarked.

But Fox League’s Greg Alexander was blown away about why he was unmarked.

“I think he was forced to kick. Watch how offside the Melbourne Storm were, Justin Olam and Josh Addo-Carr were offside metres. He had no other option but to kick the ball, he couldn’t pass the ball because the Melbourne Storm players had come up past the footy and were standing up in the attacking line.”


Andrew McMurtry

Josh Addo-Carr has helped the Storm hit the lead, completing five on three overlap.

Kenny Bromwich hit the line and brushed off Mitch Moses, before passing to Ryan Papenhuyzen, who got it out wide to Addo-Carr.

The Storm now lead 18-12 after 44 minutes, with three tries in 13 minutes.


Andrew McMurtry

Parramatta are leading the Melbourne Storm 12-0 after one of the great NRL tries you’ll see.

The Storm crossed the 40m line but knocked on, with the Eels immediately going on the counter attack.

Clint Gutherson went across field and threw a ball to Michael Jennings who put on the afterburners before a Benji Marshall-esque flick pass to Blake Ferguson. Ferguson then took off for the line but passed it back to Gutherson when he was going to be tracked down.

Greg Alexander screamed: “That is one of the great final tries, that is so good.”

Andrew Voss compared it to the Eels greats of the past with the blue and gold fired up.

But the Eels have had a share of bad news as well with Maika Sivo going off with a knee injury and his replacement Andrew Davey copping a head knock and going off as well – although he came back on.

It’s far from over with the Storm tearing the Eels apart but not being able to cross the line until the 30th minute when Melbourne got on the board through Suliasi Vunivali as the Storm put it through the hands and found the overlap.

12-6 after 32 minutes.


Andrew McMurtry

The pundit believed the Eels would need to get off to a quick start – is one minute fast enough.

Nathan Brown had the first try after a bomb was knocked on in the contest for the ball, bouncing back off the post and into the hands of the Eels lock to ground the ball next to the posts.


Andrew McMurtry

Eels second rower Ryan Matterson was a rookie for the club but had to go elsewhere to get his start in the NRL.

After being a highly regarded lower grades player, Matterson was snapped up by the Sydney Roosters before going to the Wests Tigers.

While he didn’t leave the Tigers on a great note, Parramatta didn’t appear to be the ideal landing pad for Matterson, who admitted to the Sydney Morning Herald that he left on bad terms.

While both men claim not to remember what caused the rift, it appeared to coincide with Matterson being dropped to the Ron Massey Cup, essentially third division, with Matterson admitting he thought his career could be over.

“I didn’t really stay in contact with him,” Matterson said of Arthur. “Definitely at the time, I held a lot of resentment.”

But after winning a premiership with the Roosters, Matterson was snapped up by the Tigers and was a fringe Origin player. Another fallout with Wests coach Michael Maguire saw the 25-year-old looking for a new club, and despite several suitors, it was Arthur who brought Matterson to the club.

And he did it, meeting Matterson after cutting a holiday in Bali short to nab Matterson’s signature.

“He came straight from the airport to meet me,” Matterson said.

“I have so much respect for him for doing that. He didn’t have to do that, he could have been tired, he could have gone home.

“He wanted to meet me. We all hung out, me, my manager and Brad. The rest is history. It’s awesome. Now even outside of football, I’m calling Brad up and we’re having chats. It’s blossomed into a good relationship.”

And now Matterson will be a big part of the Eels’ campaign if the side are going to give the premiership a shake.





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