Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
19 hours ago
Fulltime score: Round 5 PANTHERS 36 v STORM 16
Panthers? fullback Rhys Wesser played a blinder, scoring two tries and pulling off a tremendous try-saving tackle on Storm forward Ryan Hoffman to all but secured himself a Queensland jersey. In-form Melbourne fullback Billy Slater was far from disgraced, making Wesser?s performance all the more impressive.
In an exciting match, the Panthers came out firing in the first half to post a 10-2 lead after just 13 minutes. The home side however, were unable to capitalise and the Storm came back with a try to forward Alex Chan in the 31st minute. A penalty goal steadied the ship for the Panthers and at half time they held a tenuous 12-6 lead.
The Panthers went further ahead just after the break when Preston Campbell stepped around his opposite to score next to the posts.
The Storm replied following a sensational 60 metre burst from Bill Slater down the left flank; centre Steve Bell scoring in the next ruck to put Melbourne within six points.
Centre Luke Lewis then crossed to see the Panthers go out to a 12 point lead. But with a never-say-die attitude, the Storm struck back in the 70th minute and at 24-16, the match wasn?t over.
But two late tries from Penrith saw the score line blow out with Wesser and Campbell having the final word.
Scorers: PANTHERS 36 Tries: Galea, Wesser 2, Campbell 2, Lewis Goals: Campbell 5/6 CON, Campbell 1/1 PG STORM 16 Tries: Chan, Bell, King Goals: Orford 0/2 CON, Orford 1/1 PG, Smith 1/1 CON
Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Stephen Clark
By the clock: 0 min: Kick off in front of a packed house at Penrith Football Stadium
3rd min: Galuvao(Panthers) looks to have a groin injury and leaving the field. Pritchard on as an early replacement
5th min: TRY - PENRITH A better start, and solid start by Penrith. A mistake by the Storm sees Lewis make a good break. Quick plays and an unmarked Wesser passes the ball to Galea who scores. Campbell from the sideline, misses an early kick. Panthers 4-0
10th min: PENALTY GOAL - STORM Back chat by Priddis (Panthers) costs his side vital metres as the Storm go for the goal 20 metres out from their line, right in front. Orford does the honours. Panthers 4-2
13th min: TRY - PANTHERS The Panthers look hungry tonight. Fifth tackle option by Gower has Wesser flying in from the 10 metre line to score under the posts, poetry in motion. Campbell from out in front makes no mistake. Panthers 10-2
18th min: NEWS - Penrith are back in form tonight with their attack carving up the opposition, especially Wesser
19th min: NO TRY - PANTHERS From a goal line dropout the Panthers attack once again finds the Storm defence wanting. Wesser drops the ball as he goes to ground it. Panthers 10-2
22nd min: NO TRY - PANTHERS Relentless attack on the Storm line has once again seen the Panthers come up with a player across the line. The try disallowed to Franze, deemed to have been a double movement. Panthers still lead by 10-2
30th min: NEWS - Campbell (Panthers) held up in goal on the 2nd tackle. One way traffic so far in the match with the Storm making uncharacteristic errors
31st min: TRY - STORM Finally the Storm magic shows through forty metres out from their line. Combining well with King, Geyer sets up Chan to score the try. Orford from the sideline, hits the ball high but not straight enough for the extra points. Panthers 10-6
33rd min: 40/20 STORM Their tails are up with Smith lining up a great kick to get his side on attack. The Panthers defence solid enough to stop the onslaught.
37th min: NO TRY - STORM Wesser(Panthers) can almost do no wrong tonight saving a certain try to the Storm. Hoffman with options left and right, takes on Wesser on the tryline and loses with Wesser forcing him into touch. Panthers still lead by 10-6
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - PANTHERS Campbell nets an easy goal after Hill was penalised for tackling the man with the ball then marched a healthy 10 metres by Clark for back chat. Panthers 12-6
HALFTIME: The Panthers of old are back tonight. The Storm just a little rattled by this.
Second half underway..
41st min: NEWS - Slater (Storm) looks to have saved a certain 40/20 but is called up by the touch judge for a knock on. Same result - scrum to the Panthers 10 metres out from their line
43rd min: TRY - PANTHERS. Slater knocks on in the fifth tackle and Penrith have five tackles up their sleeves on their own tryline. Patient hands by the Panthers and Campbell slips nicely through a hole left by Hill. He converts his try. Panthers 18-6
45th min: NEWS - Galuvao (Panthers) to head for scans tomorrow with a groin tear. Unknown how long he'll be on the sideline for
49th min: NEWS - Two penalties to the Storm right on their goal line and they come away with no extra points. The defence of the Panthers outstanding, with Pritchard in the end killing a certain try to Hill. Score remains 18-6 to Penrith
51st min: TRY - STORM The backs in both sides giving plenty of entertainment to the crowd. Slater (Storm) runs a good 60 metres to set up the try for Bell. Excellent support play by the Storm has Bell over the line, twisting out of 2 tackles. Smith converts. Panthers 18-12
57th min: NEWS - The intensity of the game sees Campbell (Panthers) trying for a long range field goal which misses
59th min: TRY - PANTHERS It's Penrith's turn to have calls go their way tonight, frustration obvious on the Storm players' faces. The Panthers taking full advantage of the calls. An excellent cut out ball to Lewis on the wing sees him over the line with ease and around behind the posts. Campbell adds the extra. Panthers 24-12
67th min: NEWS - A typical bust away by the Storm looked to have resulted with Smith over the line for the try. Held up on the 3rd tackle with the Panthers desperation defence tonight once more saving a try
70th min: TRY - STORM King scores in the corner with the break made by the Storm is fast and furious. Front rower Kearns puts in a deft little grubber for King top scoop up and score. Orford from the sideline, misses the important conversion. Panthers 24-16
72nd min: TRY - PANTHERS A mistake by the Storm sets up the Panthers hungry to score. Lewis sucks in 3 defenders close to the line, Wesser stumbles over the players to score right in the corner. Campbell from the sideline tops off a great night. Panthers 30-16
74th min: NEWS - Puletua (Panthers) out of the game with a serious shoulder tear. Tests will reveal how bad. The two Kiwis in contention for test jerseys now on the sideline for Penrith.
77th min: NEWS - The Storm throwing everything at the Panthers but the defence is just too good.
79th min: TRY - PANTHERS The Penrith crowd have seen their side back to their dangerous best with the night finished off in style, Campbell touching down under the posts. He converts his own try yet again. Panthers 36-16
FULLTIME: Excitement all around the park tonight, the home side on fire. A great game with Penrith the victors by a 36-16. H/T 12-6 to the Panthers.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - R Wesser (Panthers) 2 - T Waterhouse (Panthers) 1 - P Campbell (Panthers) -----------------------------------------