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Melbourne Storm wins epic NRL season opener 16-12 against Parramatta

Storm hooker Harry Grant has scored the match-winning try against Parramatta on Thursday night.

Storm hooker Harry Grant has scored the match-winning try against Parramatta on Thursday night. Photo: Getty

Melbourne has kept its impeccable round-one record alive with an epic 16-12 golden-point win over Parramatta to start the NRL season.

Decimated by injuries and with Cameron Munster playing on after a compound dislocation of his finger, Harry Grant darted over from dummy half to win the game for Storm in the 84th minute on Thursday.

It came on a brutal night for Melbourne, with Munster forced from the field in the first half before returning and Xavier Coates later succumbing to a collarbone injury.

The win maintains Storm’s unbeaten streak in round-one matches, with Melbourne last beaten on the opening weekend of the season in 2001.

But for several stages on Thursday night, that run looked over.

It trailed 6-0 at halftime and went behind 12-6 midway through the second, as the Eels enjoyed the majority of early ball in the match.

Then when Storm needed him most, it was Munster who stood up.

After making a defensive lapse in the lead up to Parramatta’s go-ahead try, the injured five-eighth dummied and skipped his way across field to put over Young Tonumaipea.

Nick Meaney iced the conversion with 16 minutes to play, creating the 12-12 deadlock that would remain until the end of regulation time.

Melbourne’s win comes with Ryan Papenhuyzen unlikely to play in the opening eight rounds of the season, as he battles to recover from his fracture kneecap.

Justin Olam, Tariq Sims, Tui Kamikamica and George Jennings are among other injured troops.

Parramatta was also missing several of its grand final stars, but will be left to rue not being able to ice the match.

The Eels were on top when Clint Gutherson put Will Penisni over for the first try of the season when the Eels skipper busted through a tackle and found his centre unmarked.

With scores level at 6-6, it looked as if Josh Hodgson would be the hero for the Eels in the first game for his new club and off the back of an ACL injury at the start of 2022.

Playing his first game in a year, Hodgson spotted Munster sprinting out of the line in defence and found Junior Paulo to barge his way over to set up the 12-6 lead.

Halfback Mitch Moses also had a chance to win it for the Eels with four minutes to play when he had a field goal charged down, before Melbourne fullback Nick Meaney also missed a shot early in golden point.

-AAP

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