The Parramatta Eels faced a tough test as they welcomed the Melbourne Storm to Bankwest Stadium in a battle between the second and third-placed sides.
After a niggly opening ten minutes, both sides made a few errors each to let the other off the hook.
In the 15th minute, Clint Gutherson was penalised for taking Ryan Papenhuyzen out in the air but after a Captain’s Challenge, it was debutant Cooper Johns penalised for running the Eels full-back off the ball.
This allowed Mitchell Moses the chance to kick a penalty and give the home side the lead.
Just a few minutes later, Parramatta extended their lead as Gutherson took the ball to the line, to push Ryan Matterson through a gap.
The second-rower then offloaded to Waqa Blake who stepped past Papenhuyzen to score.
With numerous errors between the two sides, it became very scrappy with about 15 minutes to go until the break.
With 9 minutes until the break, Johns was penalised and placed on report for a crusher tackle, but after further review looked like a harsh call.
A few minutes later, the Eels attacked from a 20-metre scrum in midfield from which Dylan Brown and Gutherson combined to release Maika Sivo who raced away to slide over in the corner.
The Storm had a chance to attack down the right edge in the final-seconds but Sandor Earl’s kickback inside was cleared by Brown into touch.
HALF-TIME: Parramatta Eels 12-0 Melbourne Storm
The Storm started the brighter of the two in the second half as the introduction of Nico Hynes flicked the switch inside Melbourne.
With just under half an hour to go, Nelson Asofa-Solomona was sent to the sin-bin after he connected directly to the face of Junior Paulo with his shoulder.
With the Eels a man up, they looked to exploit the overlap as quickly as possible.
On the hour, the Storm were penalised again as Bromwich put his hand in the ruck and Moses add the two for 14-0.
A few minutes later, Sivo made a break down the left and popped back inside to Michael Jennings.
The centre managed to reach the try-line but as he stretched over Brandon Smith came across and smacked the ball out his hands.
In Melbourne’s very next set, Nico Hynes attacked the short side for Josh Addo-Carr, who beat the outside of Blake Ferguson and offloaded into Bromwich to slide over.
However, the pass from Addo-Carr was forward and the Storm were denied once again.
With ten minutes to go, the Eels took control of the game once again as they pinned Melbourne inside their own half.
That was until the 76th minute as the visitors won a fresh set of six but Johns’ fifth tackle kick wasn’t quite claimed by Papenhuyzen and the Eels came away with a goal-line drop-out.
The Storm would have a chance to attack with just over 90 seconds left but Papenhuyzen was ushered into touch by Jennings, Sivo and Nathan Brown.
FULL-TIME: Parramatta Eels 14-0 Melbourne Storm
Gutherson, Sivo, Jennings, Blake, Ferguson, Brown, Moses, Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Matterson, Brown
Interchanges: Stone, Niukore, Evans, O. Kaufusi
Tries: Blake. Sivo
Goals: Moses (3/4)
Papenhuyzen, Earl, Lee, Olam, Addo-Carr, Jacks, Johns, Welch, Smith, Asofa-Solomona, F. Kaufusi, K. Bromwich, Faasuamaleaui
Interchanges: Hynes, Eisenhuth, Vete, Schonig
Referee: B. Cummins
Touch Judges: T. Smith, C. Sutton
Video Referee: B. Scott
Image Source: @NRL (twitter)