Melbourne tame errant Panthers

Melbourne have kept their hopes of a top four finish alive after a professional 24-10 victory over the Penrith Panthers, in front of 8,994 fans at Penrith tonight.

The race for the top four, has just intensified as Melbourne put themselves two points from the hunt, with a thoroughly workman-like defensive effort sprinkled with some attacking flair, to quell a stubborn Panthers team. It took some inspiration from their big three and Ben Roberts to put them away. 

Penrith, playing their second Monday night football game in as many weeks, started off with possession in the slick conditions at home but the Storm continued to repel the home side. They would be rewarded for their defensive work in the 16th minute, as Marika Koroibete read a Tigers back-line movement, plucking the ball out of the air and streaking away. 

Jamie Soward and the Panthers attack, were living the phrase, 'fool me once, shame on you.. fool me twice, shame on me,' as the backline movement worked to perfection, the second go-around. The halfback delayed the pass enough to interest Koroibete again but this time, he could only watch, as Dallin Watene-Zelezniak took himself airborne to make it six-all. 

A penalty in the last minute, gave Melbourne a final chance to attack. Like they have done time and again from Cooper Cronk's kicking game, they profited. He hooked a kick to the right corner allowing Sisa Waqa to leap high, batting it Will Chambers who easily out-muscled Soward to plant it down for a 10-six Storm lead. 

It was a ten minute salvo halfway through, the second half that Melbourne stepped up the gear in a game that resembled a finals game in intensity during portions. They kicked themselves six clear when Cameron Smith potted a penalty goal, after a strip in the 53rd minute. Once there was 17 minutes remaining, Melbourne had put the game to bed. 

Multiple errors in their own 20, kept the Storm camped on the Panthers line. They punished the Panthers for their errant ways when Ben Roberts stepped off his right, beating two defenders and scoring. Billy Slater added himself to the scoresheet after a one-two move down the right sideline with Waqa to put the fullback away for a 24-six lead. 

The Panthers claimed a late consolation try after repeat sets on the Storm line. Jamal Idris, who crunched Cooper Cronk earlier in the night with a tackle, used finesse in beating two defenders on his way to the try-line. It was too late to create any late drama, as Melbourne kept their top four hopes alive on a wet and windy night in the west.


Match Details
Penrith Panthers 10 Melbourne Storm 24
Venue: Sportingbet Stadium
Crowd: 8994
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 6 Melbourne Storm 10

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Billy Slater
2 points - Ben Roberts
1 point - Cooper Cronk

PENRITH PANTHERS (10)
Tries: Dallin Watene Zelezniak, Jamal Idris
Field Goals:
Conversions: Jamie Soward (1/1), Matt Moylan (0/1)
Penalty Goals:

MELBOURNE STORM (24)
Tries: Marika Koroibete, Will Chambers, Ben Roberts, Billy Slater
Field Goals:
Conversions: Cameron Smith (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (1/1)


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

TEAM CHANGES:

A single change for each side, both for family reasons. PENRITH lose hooker James Segeyaro, who is with family after the passing of his father while MELBOURNE lose Jesse Bromwich, who is back in Melbourne, with his partner who is expecting their first child overnight. Our condolences to James on his loss and congratulations to Jesse on his new arrival.

It's a wet and wild night at Penrith tonight, as top four hopefuls Penrith look to bounce back up to second with a win. Melbourne will be looking to cement their spot in the top eight with a win tonight. Our condolences to Izzy Segeyaro, who died this week. KICK-OFF imminent.

1: KICK-OFF! Melbourne with first use.

4: FIRST penalty of the night, to Penrith, as Melbourne were inside the ten.

6: PENALTY Penrith, flop by Cooper Cronk. The halfback chipped, looking for himself but Smith cleaned up.

9: PENALTY Melbourne, first one for the visitors. Holding down too long, it gives them a chance for a breather, as they've been rucking it out thus far.

10: An early kick from Slater forces Mansour to ground the ball. Six more incoming.

10: PENALTY Melbourne, strip and tap n go.

12: A late count PENALTY for the Panthers, who tap it quickly.. Moylan taps and earns a second one.

13: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
Adam Docker makes an unforced error.

Soward has been going out to the backline, for the first few attacking plays. This time, he went to the lead man Docker, who spilled it cold.

14: FORWARD pass, from the scrum feed.. jeez.

16: TRY MELBOURNE STORM
Scored by Marika Koroibete. Kick to come.

That was against the run of play! Penrith once again, went for the backline movement as Koroibete rushed up, the final pass wouldn't go, to the man as Marika intercepted and was away.

17: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION MELBOURNE STORM
Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.

Easy first assignment for Smith, who duly pots it over.

22: PENALTY Panthers, the crowd was baying for that all set. They were duly rewarded when Cronk was overeager.

26: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
Adam Docker makes an unforced error.

Docker hasn't had a happy night with his hands thus far. He spilled one, running into the defensive line. Full set for the Storm, 40 metres out.

27: That was something different. Cooper Cronk put a chipped kick, just on the line, waiting for the incoming Koroibete who couldn't reach it. He did trap Moylan for an extra set.

31: PENALTY Storm, Docker again.. laying in the ruck.

33: Soward ran it on last, turned it inside to Idris who got a toe to it, allowing Moylan to get a second one through, earning a dropout.

34: VIDEO REFEREE: DWZ might have the opener, checking grounding.

35: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Dallin Watene Zelezniak. Kick to come.

GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Panthers ran the same play that resulted in the Koroibete intercept but this time, it beat the winger into the hands of Watene-Zelezniak who dived over. Freeze frame indeed.

36: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PENRITH PANTHERS
Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.

Tough first kick for Soward, no troubles though, as he put it straight over.

40: PENALTY Storm, too slow off the tackled player. One last chance to strike for the visitors.

40: TRY MELBOURNE STORM
Scored by Will Chambers. Kick to come.

And strike they can! Cooper Cronk put it on a dime, for Waqa who batted it to Chambers who was too strong for Soward, scoring.

40: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION MELBOURNE STORM
Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful.

Last action of the opening half is Smith's conversion.. the hooker walks in and hits it against the post.

40: We're back for the second half, Melbourne ready to kick us off again..

41: Here we go again!

45: PENALTY Storm, bit lucky there for Fonua.. who seemed to drop it but got it called a strip.

46: Mansour inexplicably plays at a ball he didn't have to, gifting Melbourne another set.

48: UNFORCED ERROR MELBOURNE STORM
Tohu Harris makes an unforced error.

Good defensive pressure from the Panthers.. forcing an error from Tohu Harris.

48: PENALTY Panthers, holding down too long.

50: PENALTY incoming for the Storm, as Glasby is hit high. Adam Docker, who hasn't had the best of nights, is ON REPORT.

52: A scramble right on the line, produces a result for the away side.. dropout incoming.

52: PENALTY Storm, Norrie had it ripped out.

53: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL MELBOURNE STORM
Penalty goal attempt by Cameron Smith successful.

Storm go for the penalty goal, nailing it for a six point lead.

54: PENALTY Storm, Norrie was caught in a crusher tackle, so another Panther is ON REPORT.

56: Moylan bounces away from the defense on a return but was too close to the sideline, sliding over.

58: TRY MELBOURNE STORM
Scored by Ben Roberts. Kick to come.

You offer it up often enough, Melbourne will take it gleefully. Storm set out wide, looking like it was going to the backline but it went to Roberts who stepped, fended and scored.

58: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION MELBOURNE STORM
Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.

Smith adds the two easily.

60: PENALTY Panthers, Chambers getting too aggressive with DWZ.

62: TRY MELBOURNE STORM
Scored by Billy Slater. Kick to come.

That was all Billy there. He went down the short side, initiating pass to put Waqa into space before the winger reciprocated to send the fullback over.

63: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION MELBOURNE STORM
Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.

Cam Smith pots over another, to make it eighteen.

65: PENALTY Panthers. Can they strike back?

71: UNFORCED ERROR MELBOURNE STORM
Ben Roberts makes an unforced error.

Roberts couldn't handle the ball in attack and Penrith work it out.

71: PENALTY Panthers, Soward was taken out.

73: Soward forces a repeat set. Waqa took it dead. Now or never for the Panthers.

75: SIX MORE.. Panthers.

75: Patience from Soward but the Melbourne machine defends.

77: PENALTY Panthers, all defensive training for the visitors.

78: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Jamal Idris. Kick to come.

Panthers finally cracked the wall. A pass to Idris, who beats two defenders and scores.

78: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PENRITH PANTHERS
Conversion attempt by Matt Moylan unsuccessful.

Moylan rushes the kick and misses.

80: FULLTIME :: Melbourne with a workmanlike win in Sydney's west.

Like