Melbourne's passage to an NRL preliminary final for a sixth straight season with a 36-24 win over Parramatta has been soured with a knee injury to five-eighth Cameron Munster
The Storm were just too good for a resolute Eels, who lost wingers Maika Sivo and Blake Ferguson to knee injuries, running in six tries to four at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday to extend their winning run in Queensland to a remarkable 19 games.
Melbourne will now have a week off before facing the winner of next weekend's semi-final between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra in Brisbane for a spot in the 2020 grand final.
Parramatta have to lick their wounds and bounce back in a semi-final against either South Sydney or Newcastle next weekend.
Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was the difference on the night, scoring two tries, having a hand in the other four and running for 225 metres in a typical all-action display.
The sight of Munster hobbling off after injuring his right knee in the 70th minute was a sobering one for Storm, and for Queensland State of Origin fans.
The 26-year-old has twice been sidelined this season with a knee injury and flung his mouthguard in frustration as he left the field.
Storm officials were confident Munster's knock was nothing more than a tweak of his troublesome MCL and the man himself believes he will be fit to play in the preliminary final.
"I'm sure the physios will do everything they can to get me going, and I'll do everything I can," Munster said.
"At this time I'm very optimistic, and I'll get scans tomorrow. Fingers crossed. I'll duct tape it if I have to."
Storm coach Craig Bellamy was proud of his team's finish to the game but said giving up a 12-point lead early and conceding four tries showed there is plenty to work on before the preliminary final.
He also had lofty praise for the dynamic Papenhuyzen, saying the fullback was the winning factor for his team.
"He was our best player by a mile and if he hadn't been in the team we wouldn't have won, you know?" Bellamy said.
"That's basically the rap you can put on him but he was everywhere and it's great that he wants to, that kid, he just wants to be involved."
Eels coach Brad Arthur confirmed after the defeat Sivo's season is likely over due to his knee injury, while Ferguson will undergo scans to determine if he plays in next week's final.
There is also a concern for backrower Marata Niukore, who was placed on report for a crusher tackle on Storm young gun Tino Fa'asuamaleaui in the first half.
With a grade-one charge for the offence carrying a minimum two-game ban under an NRL crackdown, Niukore may not play again in 2020 unless the Eels can reach this year's grand final.
"It was tough, showed plenty of character, it was brave," Arthur said of his side's performance, before lamenting some costly mistakes.
"Just dumb. Some key moments, big moments at critical times in the game and you can't do that against the Melbourne Storm.
"They iced their moments. Their opportunities. We need to learn from it, but the pleasing thing is we didn't go away. We kept fighting."