Parramatta's finals hopes look about as healthy as Kieran Foran's left shoulder.
Not even the return of Foran could save the Eels from a clinical Melbourne on Monday night.
The 18-6 defeat means Parramatta need to win 12 of their remaining 13 matches if they are to overcome the salary cap breaches and somehow scrape into the finals.
It simply won't happen. Even the 8941 long-suffering fans who left Pirtek Stadium would agree, especially with games against genuine premiership powerhouses Cronulla and Brisbane.
Those same fans will be sweating on Foran overcoming a shoulder injury, which he could not lift for an hour, and required pain-killing injections just to finish the game.
Coach Brad Arthur confirmed Foran would return to a Queensland rehabilitation clinic for personal issues this week, but hoped he would be given the all-clear - both physically and mentally - to take on Newcastle next Monday.
"He had to get needled up and carry it through the game, but we're hopeful he'll be OK," Arthur said of his star halfback.
"They targeted him and got some play-the-balls through him, and they went down that (right) edge a bit, but he didn't want to come off. We needed him out there, so he had to tough it out.
"He'll go back for a couple of days and they'll re-assess him, they'll see how he coped this week, and make a decision from there.
"As long as his shoulder is OK he'll be back ready to play next week."
Wearing the No. 18 jumper, Foran made a half break when he was collected in a tackle, and immediately clutched at his left shoulder. He could not lift his arm the remainder of the game.
What made the remaining hour even tougher for Foran was Beau Scott, the man who normally defends one inside him, was forced from the field even earlier with a cork.
Arthur, however, also hoped the snubbed Origin enforcer would recover in time with the seven-day turnaround.
If Foran was tough, so was the Storm's Cameron Munster who did not let a hyper-extended elbow end his night.
ne of the many Storm standouts, Munster proved a real pest for Semi Radradra, the Eels' rampaging winger who was actually upstaged by the visiting Fijians and fellow wingers, Suliasi Vunivalu and Marika Koroibete. Vunivalu bagged a double while Koroibete took time out from terrorising Clint Gutherson to also bag some points.
While Melbourne were at their usual methodical best - they were so good the angry fans resorted to the schoolyard chant "(Cam) Smith is a w..ker" as he attempted a conversion - the Eels' are in strife.
Arthur was not about to get bogged down in the mathematics. He wasn't about to give up hope.
"It's been made a little bit harder, but it (the finals) can't be our priority at the moment, it's got to be next week," Arthur said.
"The motivation is to win this week. Nothing has changed. If we put a couple of wins together, the whole thing can change."
MELBOURNE 18 (S Vunivalu 2 C Blair M Koroibete tries C Smith goal) bt PARRAMATTA 6 (M Jennings try M Gordon goal) at Pirtek Stadium. Referee: Ashley Klein, Adam Gee. Crowd: 8,941.