The Storm missed a golden opportunity to earn a week off when they lost Saturday's qualifying final in the final minutes to Canberra in Melbourne.
There's no more chances this week as they host the in-form Eels in a do-or-die clash.
The winner will advance to a preliminary final showdown with the Roosters at the SCG in week three while the loser will be left to ponder what might have been.
The Eels advanced to week two of the finals by destroying Brisbane in Sunday's elimination clash at Bankwest Stadium and coach Brad Arthur will have his side fired up for an upset in the Victorian capital.
Storm: A late switch for the Storm with Curtis Scott elevated from the reserves to the starting side in the centres and Will Chambers gong to the bench. Joe Stimson will play for the Falcons in the Intrust Super Cup preliminary final. Tom Eisenhuth and Brodie Croft were the last two omitted an hour before kick-off. The Storm have won seven of their past nine games against the Eels.
Eels: No changes to the 17 named on Tuesday, with Parramatta boasting a clean bill of health which is a massive bonus at this time of the season. Winger Maika Sivo has scored six tries in his past three games. Jaemon Salmon and Josh Hoffman were omitted in the first squad cuts the day before the game while Ray Stone and Peni Terepo were the last men cut an hour before game time.
Cameron Munster's dominance at five-eighth has not only been integral in the Storm's success, the Queensland Origin rep has had the best season of his career. Munster will be facing one of the best young playmakers in the NRL in the form of Parramatta's 19-year-old rookie Dylan Brown.
For the Storm to win
They need to continue to build their game around what they do defensively and that will translate to confidence and assertion in attack. It's up to Munster, Cameron Smith and Jahrome Hughes to get their kicks to the right spots, Jesse Bromwich has to lead the forwards, while dynamic fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen looms as a match-winner if it's close down the stretch.
For the Eels to win
Don't be intimidated by the aura of AAMI Park. If Parra can get away to a positive start and score some early points it might create some minor panic among the Storm and disrupt their game plan. By the same token the Eels can't get flustered if the Melbourne side gets away to a flyer. Moses proved against Brisbane that he can handle the bright lights of finals footy, while the contributions of the back three of Clint Gutherson, Maika Sivo and Blake Ferguson will be crucial.
Brett Kimmorley says
Parramatta will go to Melbourne without any fear after a massive victory last week. They played once during the season in Magic Round and the Storm flogged Parra, but that scarring will be gone because of how well they played last week. They should go to Melbourne with confidence, Mitchell Moses is in career-best form and he's managing games really well. The Storm are lacking in game management at the moment and there's a bit of vulnerability in their game. If the Eels can play that brand of football they played last week and back themselves, we should see an arm wrestle for the full 80 minutes. Storm by 1.
Why ruck defence matters for Parramatta
Eels winger Maika Sivo's 20 tries topped the NRL in 2019, while his 21 line breaks ranked second. Eels halfback Mitch Moses was first in try assists (24), kicks (326) and kick metres (8,954). They were both at their best in Sunday's emphatic triumph over the Broncos.
And another thing ...
It's 10 years since Melbourne beat Parramatta in the 2009 grand final, a trophy which was later stripped due the Storm's salary cap breaches. Eels fans have long memories - they will want revenge.
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