Scoring the matchwinning try in Melbourne has come at a huge cost for Parramatta’s Ray Stone.
Parramatta hero Ray Stone has played his last game for the Eels after confirmation he’ll need reconstructive surgery after injuring his knee as he scored the winning try against Melbourne Storm on Saturday night.
Stone, who went from the villain in his team’s round 2 loss to Cronulla to hero in Melbourne, was upset in the rooms after his two late tries secured the Eels the 28-24 victory in golden point.
The 24-year-old looked to be in pain after seizing on a rebound off the goalposts to score the winning try. He walked from the field but was sent for scans and on Monday Parramatta confirmed the worst news for Stone.
“Ray Stone has today been ruled out for the 2022 season following confirmation that he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) during Saturday nights game against Melbourne,” a club statement said.
“He will undergo surgery in the coming days and then begin his rehabilitation for the 2023 season.”
Stone has already signed for the NRL’s newest team, the Dolphins, for 2023.
Eels coach Brad Arthur praised Stone in the aftermath of the extra time victory as a player his teammates knew they could rely on to turn up when it mattered.
That included knowing to stay onside for the last kick from Mitchell Moses that ensured the final try got the green light.
‘’It’s always good when a little bit of luck goes to one of our players that you can rely on. Stoney is one of those guys. He works hard, he is sometimes in and out of the team, but he never complains, he just gets on with his job,” he said.
“He made sure he was onside … it was a good bit of footy awareness from him, so pleasing for Stoney.
Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson said Stone was loved by all his teammates for his willingness to do anything for the Eels.
‘’Stone Dog, he loves those at training and he came off in the game,” he said.
“He competes in everything, he can play fullback to prop to coach.”
Despite coming away with victory in Melbourne, the third in a row for the Eels against the Storm, Arthur said his men were making things hard on themselves with close finishes in each of the opening three games.
“I was a little bit disappointed with five minutes to go that we lacked professionalism,” he said.
“We were up by six, we were down attacking the try line, we needed to ice that game….but to the boys’ credit it’s character building performances like this.”
Gutherson agreed they needed to get better at icing games having lost by just two points to Cronulla in round 2.
“We made it harder on ourselves … we almost let it slip again,” he said.
“We had it in the bag last week as well and it came down to a penalty and a couple of missed tackles and this week was almost the same.”
The Eels have more than a week to heal their wounds before fronting up next Sunday against St George Illawarra.