Storm overcome Parra to earn home Prelim
Melbourne have defeated the Parramatta Eels 18-16 to book a home Preliminary Final at AAMI Park in two weeks time.
Storm trailed by four points at half-time before bouncing back with a courageous second half performance.
The result ensured the Club will remember fondly Cameron Smith's record-breaking 356th game as the skipper broke the record for most games played in NRL history.
Billy Slater was pivotal in the second half, scoring what proved to be the match-winning try while Will Chamber was simply outstanding with 138 metres and proved rock solid in defence for the entire 80 minutes.
Storm came out of the blocks prepared to throw the ball around and it paid dividends after just four minutes when Curtis Scott found Josh Addo-Carr to score down the left touchline.
Momentum swung the visitors way though after 20 minutes when Cameron Munster was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. The Eels wasted no time in capitalising, drawing level a minute later.
As errors crept into Melbourne’s game Parramatta soon took the lead on the half hour mark when the sliced through for a 10-4 half-time lead.
The question was asked at the break and the Storm boys provided the answer.
In the 46th minute they produced one of the craziest sixth tackle plays you will see all season as 10 different players touched the ball before falling to Kenny Bromwich who scored under the posts.
Storm then continued to pile on the pressure and soon took the lead when a clever Addo-Carr grubber kick found Billy Slater who scored the 180th try of his career, equaling Steve Menzies for second most in NRL history.
A Cameron Smith penalty goal edged them into a 18-10 advantage however the Eels would not go away, cutting the deficit to just two points with 13 minutes to play.
Addo-Carr looked to have sealed victory in the 71st minute, only for his try to be overturned with replays showing his left heel narrowly clipping the left touchline.
It mattered little though as the Melbourne boys held their nerve to book a home Preliminary final at AAMI Park in two weeks time.
Melbourne Storm 18
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr, Kenny Bromwich, Billy Slater
Goals: Cameron Smith 3
Parramatta Eels 16
Tries: Kirisome Auva’a, Will Smith, Semi Radradra
Goals: Mitchell Moses