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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 13:22 UK

Storm edge Eels to win NRL crown

Storm coach Craif Bellamy
Victorious coach Craig Bellamy gets the traditional energy drink dousing

Melbourne sealed their third National Rugby League title with a 23-16 Grand Final win over the Parramatta Eels.

The Storm, playing in their fourth consecutive NRL showpiece, led 10-0 at half-time and saw off a dramatic late comeback by the Eels in Sydney.

They clinched victory with a Greg Inglis drop goal two minutes from time.

Melbourne lost 40-0 to Manly in the 2008 Grand Final, and skipper Cameron Smith admitted: "We needed this to help put out the flames from last year."

The Storm nullified the attacking threat of Parramatta's NRL player of the year Jarryd Hayne and looked set for a comfortable victory with a 22-6 advantage coming into the final 10 minutes.

But the Eels, who came into the match having won 10 of their last 11 games, staged a thrilling rally in front of a sell-out 82,538 crowd with tries from centre Joel Reddy and Tongan prop Fuifui Moimoi.

606: DEBATE
MelbourneStorming

They trailed the Storm 22-16 with eight minutes left, but Melbourne got the benefit of a contentious stripping-the-ball penalty and worked their way upfield for Inglis to kick the drop-goal and put his team seven points up.

Parramatta were bidding for their fifth title, and first since 1986, but it was not to be.

"We had a go but we were punished for our mistakes," said Eels coach and former St Helens boss Daniel Anderson.

"They didn't make that many breaks but when they did make them they scored. They are a great side."

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said: "To make these four grand finals was a huge effort."

Storm Test full-back Billy Slater, whose second-half try was his 18th of the season, was voted the Clive Churchill Medal winner as man of the match.



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see also
Storm to face Eels in NRL finale
26 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Anderson tipped for Eels position
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League


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