NRL 2021: Parramatta Eels stun defending champions Melbourne Storm in horrible conditions

An ugly moment early in the second half marred the enthralling NRL encounter between the Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels on Thursday night. 

Eels forward Ryan Matterson had to be helped off Bankwest Stadium with the score locked at 6-6 after he was effectively knocked out in a tackle by New Zealand born second row forward Felise Kaufusi.

Kaufusi's elbow appeared to connect with Matterson’s head as he hit the ground and referee Ashley Klein put Storm forward on report while the Eels player was forced from the field with a potential concussion. 

The decision flies in the face of the NRL’s own foul play policy which stipulates players should be sent to the sin bin for illegal acts that force their opponents from the ground. 

It will also raise questions over possible concussion substitutes after sports like cricket, football and the AFL introduced medical replacements over the last 12 months. 

The ugly incident took the gloss off an impressive Eels performance as they laid down a marker as early season title contenders after beating the Melbourne Storm 16-12 in monsoon conditions in Sydney. 

Two pieces of Maika Sivo brilliance was the difference between the two sides as he out-leapt opposite George Jennings on two occasions from high attacking kicks to see his side home. 

Sivo scored the games first points before the visitors responded just before halftime as the defending champions pounced on a Clint Gutherson error.

The home side retook the lead midway through the second half when outstanding dummy-half Reed Mahoney helped Junior Paulo crash over for his second try in as many games to put the Eels up 12-6.

The never say die Storm attitude was on full show as Justin Olam cashed in on a lucky ricochet from an attacking grubber from Ryan Papenhuyzen levelling the scores with five minutes to play.

With the game looking like it was going to golden point, the Eels had one final twist in the tail as a rampaging Sivo charged through to snatch possession from Jennings for the second time in the match as the Eels stole the lead from nowhere.

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