Parramatta Eels seal top 4 finish after Melbourne Storm win, finals matches, Penrith Panthers,


Just three weeks ago after a 26-0 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Parramatta Eels were on the edge of missing out on the finals.

But after a 22-14 win over the Melbourne Storm, the blue-and-gold have wrapped up fourth place on the ladder, and booked a western Sydney blockbuster against the Penrith Panthers for the first week of the NRL finals.

The result wraps up the top four and will see the defending premier and minor premier Panthers host the Eels, while the Sharks and Cowboys will play in the other qualifying final with this weekend’s results deciding who will host.

Currently the Sharks are in the box seat, facing a clash against the Knights on Sunday, while the Cowboys have to win over the Panthers and hope Cronulla lose to nab second place and a home final.

The Storm will likely finish fifth, while the Roosters and Rabbitohs are facing a playoff for sixth on Friday night, but will likely face off in the first week of the finals.

The only position in the top eight still up for debate is eighth place on the ladder as the Raiders or Broncos will round out the top eight.

The result means 2022 will be the first time since 2014 the Storm will miss the top four, a result CODE Sports’ Lachlan McKirdy tweeted.

And since 2006, including the 2010 season when the Storm was last as punishment for its salary cap scandal, it’s just the third time in that period the Storm have finished outside the top four.

Speaking to ABC after the game, Storm hooker Grant said: “It hurts a lot, obviously … going into the finals, a couple of losses, and the position on the ladder really hurts … looking forward to going to training to fix a few things.”

The Eels were dominant for much of the match, leading 20-0 after 62 minutes before the Storm launched a fightback.

Tries to Harry Grant, Nick Meaney and David Nofoaluma cut the lead to eight points with just over a minute remaining but a missed conversion from Cameron Munster sealed the result.

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