Storm fans have yet another reason to be excited for the future and his name is Jahrome Hughes. The 22-year-old was brilliant all night at fullback, finishing the game with a team-high 193 metres, one line break and a try. He was arguably Storm’s best player on the night, impressive for a player in just his 4th NRL game.
That was how low Storm got in the possession count half an hour into the game. A lack of the football was a big factor in the early 16-nil score line as the young team was put under a mountain of defensive pressure. To their credit they fought back and once the possession count swung, so too did the momentum. It eventually finished 46-54 in favour of Parramatta but the damage was done early by an in-form Eels attack who made the most of their opportunities.
It was a decisive minute in the game. Suliasi Vunivalu was sent to the sin bin after chasing down Semi Radradra and holding on too long in the tackle. Down a man, Storm managed to hold their opponents out for six gutsy minutes before Mitchell Moses found a way through. A 10-nil lead would have been palatable but the real dagger came when the Eels crossed again 30 seconds after Vunivalu returned to the field. That gave Parramatta a 16-nil advantage from which a young Storm side could never recover from.
That is the equal most line breaks Melbourne has conceded this season. It was also just the second time this season that the men in purple have been unable to break the line more than they’ve been broken. Semi Radradra broke through three times in the first 11 minutes before Storm were able to lock down on him but it certainly had the home side on the back foot early.