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The Rock-itt : October 2009
Parramatta Eels VS Melbourne Storm After a long and treacherous season, which spanned just over 6 months, the NRL came to a climax on Sunday October 4 when the red- hot Parramatta Eels came face to face with the consistent Melbourne Storm who were in their 4th straight premiership decider. What was billed as the Grand Final of the decade many wondered whether Jaryd Hayne and Fui Fui Moi Moi could carry the 8th seeded Western Sydney side to the premiership, or would Billy Slater and Greg Inglis cement their franchise as the elite of the decade. In front of a parochial 82, 538 fans (most of which sported the Blue and Gold of Parramatta) Melbourne showed too much class on the day, denying what was a fairytale final 3 months for the Eels and highlighting the fact that they have been the benchmark for the past 4 seasons. Although Parramatta fell just short they gave the Storm an almighty scare late in the encounter with raid after raid launched against Melbourne led by Grand Final try- scorers Fui Fui Moi Moi and Eric Grothe Jnr, as well as Nathan Hindmarsh racking up and unbelievable 63 tackles for the match. After going down by a record 40-0 margin to the Manly Sea Eagles last year, Melbourne came firing out of the blocks looking to avenge last year's defeat and they found a way through early in the contest with Ryan Hoffman brushing off some nervous Parramatta defence after receiving a short ball from Cooper Cronk. The Storm continued to pressure the Eels' right side defence with Hoffman and Inglis causing some early trouble for Parramatta whose adjacent defence seemed clueless on how to stop the two rampaging Australian representatives. The Storm continued their dominance for much of the 1st half and were rewarded with another try in the 24th minute when Adam Blair strolled over the try line giving the Storm a 10-0 halftime advantage. When the ref blew his whistle for the second half to begin, it was if he triggered the Eels side as they fought fire with fire, meeting the Storm attack with some monstrous hits and finding holes in Melbourne's defence. After Feleti Mateo made a line break and got Parramatta within striking distance of the Storm's line, the Eels spread the ball wide to Eric Grothe Jnr, who after receiving the ball stepped inside and beat 4 Storm defenders to power over the line. With Luke Burt slotting it over from out wide the Eels were just 4 points adrift of their opposition. Just as the Eels found themselves right back in the contest they gifted Melbourne another healthy buffer just minutes after the Grothe try with some lazy work at the back costing Parramatta. On last tackle Storm halfback Cooper Cronk put up a bomb which was uncontested by Parramatta giving Greg Inglis the chance to snatch the ball mid air