The Parramatta Eels have spent all season in the top four but one of the key players had to bury a hatchet with coach Brad Arthur to bring the team together.
How Ryan Matterson ended up back in blue and gold.
The Melbourne Storm hold the perfect finals record against the Parramatta Eels with six from six in meetings at the most important time of the year.
As the teams prepare to play at Suncorp Stadium, the scene of 64-10 Storm massacre of the Eels in 2019’s Magic round, there is plenty going the Storm’s way.
But while not being too impressive while sealing a top four spot, the Eels will be hoping to fly under the radar in a bid to end a 34-year premiership drought, the longest current drought in the NRL.
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The Storm-Eels qualifying final will kick off at 7.50pm AEST.
While both men claim not to remember what caused the rift, it appeared to coincide with Matterson being dropped to the Ron Massey Cup, essentially third division, with Matterson admitting he thought his career could be over.
"I didn't really stay in contact with him," Matterson said of Arthur. "Definitely at the time, I held a lot of resentment."
But after winning a premiership with the Roosters, Matterson was snapped up by the Tigers and was a fringe Origin player. Another fallout with Wests coach Michael Maguire saw the 25-year-old looking for a new club, and despite several suitors, it was Arthur who brought Matterson to the club.
And he did it, meeting Matterson after cutting a holiday in Bali short to nab Matterson's signature.
"He came straight from the airport to meet me," Matterson said.
"I have so much respect for him for doing that. He didn't have to do that, he could have been tired, he could have gone home.
"He wanted to meet me. We all hung out, me, my manager and Brad. The rest is history. It's awesome. Now even outside of football, I'm calling Brad up and we're having chats. It's blossomed into a good relationship."
And now Matterson will be a big part of the Eels' campaign if the side are going to give the premiership a shake.
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