Defiant coach Brad Arthur is refusing to give up on Parramatta's fading finals hopes despite Melbourne heaping more pain on the Eels and Kieran Foran on Monday night.
Foran endured a rough return to the NRL after two weeks in a Queensland rehabilitation clinic dealing with mental health issues as the Storm ran in four tries to one in an emphatic 18-6 win over the Eels at Pirtek Stadium.
The defeat left the beleaguered Eels needing to win 12 of their last 13 games to scrape into the playoffs, yet Arthur maintains it's possible.
"It's been made a little bit harder but that can't be our priority at the moment. It's got to be next week," he said.
"We need to be keeping it positive but we just need to focus on each week."
Foran, who also faced weekend allegations he'd lost $75,000 in a gambling splurge, not only bravely battled through his mental demons but also suffered a shoulder injury 20 minutes into the contest.
He played on in obvious discomfort but, try as he might, the Kiwi superstar was unable to inspire the Eels to a desperately needed victory despite several nice touches, one clean break and a late try assist.
Set to be stripped of 12 premiership points for the club's salary cap breaches, Parramatta's finals hopes now look forlorn as the Eels lurch from one scandal to the next.
While Foran - under medical instructions not to speak to the media for a month - heads back to Brisbane on Tuesday to continue treatment, his halves partner Corey Norman also faces some challenging times after being linked to a police investigation involving suspected drugs at The Star Casino last Friday night.
"Look, the club needs to investigate it and we can't make any comments until we know some more detail," Arthur said.
The coach said Norman was feeling "alright", but admitted the incident had been a distraction in the lead-up to Monday night's crucial match.
"But it's not an excuse. Once they get out on the field, they've got 80 minutes to try and get the job done. We can't be offering up excuses," he said.
Compounding the Eels' woes was a leg injury to defensive enforcer Beau Scott, who limped off early in the first half with a cork.
The Storm's only concern as they head back to Melbourne in second spot following their fifth consecutive win is an elbow injury to classy young fullback Cameron Munster.
Tries to wingers Suliasi Vunivali and Marika Koroibete had earned Melbourne an 8-0 lead at the break before second-half strikes to Vunivali and centre Cheyse Blair sealed Parramatta's fate in front of 8961 mostly dispirited fans.
The Eels' only points came from a try with little more than a minute remaining off a Foran grubber kick - and Michael Gordon's conversion.
Melbourne captain Cameron Smith said he was delighted with the Storm's lofty position on the ladder heading into the State of Origin series.