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The Melbourne Storm have stopped their three-match losing streak by defeating the Penrith Panthers 18-10 at AAMI Park in Melbourne. The Storm led 6-4 at half time.
The Storm spent the opening 20 minutes of the game defending their line against the Panthers attack, who were definitely missing halfback Luke Walsh who was ruled out through injury.
In almost their first attacking foray the Storm scored with Dane Neilsen scoring off a poor defensive read by Michael Jennings.
The Panthers struck back five minutes later, with Nathan Smith throwing a great offload to Adrian Purtell who beat the cover defence to the corner to score in the corner. Michael Gordon's missed conversion left the score at 6-4, where it would remain until half time.
It took almost 20 minutes for any points to be scored in the second half, with Michael Jennings scoring after Matt Duffie fumbled a bomb.
Melbourne started to up the tempo and restored their lead in the 66th minute after Finch grubbered through the line for O'Neill to score. Cameron Smith's sideline conversion put the Storm up 12-10.
The Storm upped the tempo, and held out against any final Panthers attacks. They scored one final try through Duffie with two minutes remaining, and Cameron Smith's second sideline conversion, in off the posts sent the 11,212 strong crowd into raptures and condemned the Panthers to a three game losing streak.
Melbourne Storm 18 defeated Penrith Panthers 10
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 20 - Saturday July 24, 2010 7:30pm
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Jason Robinson and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Phil Haines and Luke Potter
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 6 Penrith Panthers 4
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cameron Smith (3 Conversions)
2 Points - Justin O'Neill (1 Try)
1 Point - Nathan Smith
Melbourne Storm (18)
Tries: Dane Nielsen, Justin O'Neill, Matt Duffie
Conversions: Cameron Smith (3/3)
Penrith Panthers (10)
Tries: Adrian Purtell, Michael Jennings
Conversions: Michael Gordon (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Team lineups: Walsh is out for Penrith and is replaced by Burns, while Puletua is out and replaced by Plum. Otherwise the Panthers are as per-programme, with the bench 15-18. Still waiting on the Storm.
In the Toyota Cup, Melbourne claimed a convincing 46-16 win. Melbourne led 24-10 at half time.
Storm changes: Stanley is out and replaced by Neilsen, Norrie drops to the bench in favour of Tolman.
Both teams taking to the field now.
1 min: Penrith kick off!
3 min: Storm spread the ball wide to O'Neill who makes a break, and Travis Burns makes a fantastic tackle to drag him into touch.
6 min: Melbourne get a penalty and move into an attacking position.
7 min: Finch throws an intercept pass to Purtell who is run down by Inglis, but Penrith are on attack.
8 min: Penrith drop the ball on the last.
9 min: Finch produces another intercept to put the Panthers in a better attacking position than last time.
9 min: Jennings steps and offloads to Coote who can't quite gather the ball with the line open.
10 min: Melbourne ruled to have knocked on coming out of their own end.
12 min: Penrith produce another poor option on the last, and O'Neill lets the bomb bounce but it rolls dead.
13 min: Melbourne still doing their best to stay trapped down their own end, with a break being called back for a forward pass and the Panthers will go on attack yet again.
14 min: Melbourne give away a penalty to keep Penrith on attack.
15 min: Penrith come up with another poor last tackle option and Melbourne will possibly work it out of their own end this time.
17 min: Melbourne well and truly offside and give away another penalty, only for Nigel Plum to drop the ball early in the set. Penrith already have nearly 80% of the territory.
18 min: Melbourne get a penalty to go on attack. Both teams are spending all night standing offside.
19 min: Melbourne go close several times and will get a repeat set. Slater and Jennings look like they're getting set to have a fight.
20 min: A Melbourne set play is knocked down in desperation by Penrith and the Storm will get another attacking chance through a scrum.
21 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
From the scrum base Slater gets the ball and passes to Neilsen after Jennings rushed out of the line, and Neilsen scores. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
23 min: White loses the ball and the Panthers will get another opportunity.
24 min: Melbourne give away another offside penalty.
24 min: Penrith throw a forward pass on the first tackle.
25 min: Now Hoffman knocks on and the Panthers will go on attack, yet again.
26 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Nathan Smith produces a great offload to Purtell who beats the cover defence to the corner. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful.
Melbourne Storm 6-4
30 min: Inglis puts up a monster bomb that everyone lets bounce, and the Panthers come up with the ball.
33 min: Penrith give away a stupid penalty to put Melbourne on attack.
34 min: Finch picks up a line drop out.
35 min: Melbourne put on a good play only to knock on in the play the ball.
36 min: Penrith on attack off a penalty.
37 min: Slater and Smith make a try saving tackle on Jennings who loses the ball, and Slater is injured. Nathan Smith also injured after a fantastic hit from Inglis.
38 min: Penrith give away a penalty to help Melbourne out of their end.
39 min: Cameron Smith kicks out the back of the in goal.
40 min: Half time in a game that could be generously described as a defensive struggle.
40 min: Back underway in Melbourne!
42 min: Barely two minutes into the second half and we have our first penalty, Melbourne go on attack.
43 min: Despite Tighe's best efforts, Melbourne get a line drop out.
45 min: O'Neill knocks on.
46 min: Kingston throws a forward pass to put Melbourne back on attack. Slater responds in kind by knocking on from the scrum base.
48 min: Duffie makes a good tackle on Jennings and forces him to lose the ball.
49 min: Jennings drops a potential intercept.
50 min: Penrith get the ball back.
51 min: Jennings injured after attempting a tackle on Neilsen. He'll stay on the field, although he's not looking good.
52 min: Melbourne give Penrith a piggy back penalty to put them on attack.
53 min: Penrith knock on in good attacking position.
54 min: Penrith get a line drop out off a horrible forward pass.
58 min: Smith attempts to chip ahead for Slater and Penrith recover it.
58 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Big shock, Penrith score off a kick. Graham bombs for Tighe, Duffie knocks on and Jennings recovers the ball to score. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
Penrith Panthers 10-6
61 min: Penrith turn the ball over and Melbourne go on attack.
64 min: Melbourne go within inches of scoring and lose the ball on the next play.
64 min: Cameron Smith makes a one on one steal and Melbourne go back on attack.
64 min: Panthers give away a penalty on the last with the Storm just five metres out.
66 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
The Storm move the ball from sideline to sideline and Finch grubbers through the line for O'Neill to score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Melbourne Storm 12-10
69 min: 40/20 Melbourne Storm
Cooper Cronk kicks a 40/20.
70 min: Melbourne have really upped the tempo in the last few minutes.
70 min: Penrith hold out after Melbourne go close to scoring.
73 min: Finch extremely lucky not to be penalised for a push in the play the ball right in front of the posts.
75 min: Penrith lose the ball on attack. Last night that would have been penalised as a strip.
77 min: Penrith knock on again, but then show no urgency to pack the scrum.
78 min: Gordon knocks on fielding a Finch grubber. Definitely more luck than judgement for the Storm, and again Penrith don't rush to pack the scrum.
78 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
From the scrum the Storm move the ball right to create an overlap, and Duffie scores in the corner. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful off the uprights.
Melbourne Storm 18-10
80 min: Fulltime, and the Storm have managed to outlast the Panthers to win 18-10.