Full Time
8:05pm Thu March 25, 2021
Round 3 - BlueBet Stadium, Penrith - Crowd: 14077

Match Overview

A 78th minute try to Kurt Capewell has seen the Penrith Panthers claim a hard-fought 12-10 victory over the Melbourne Storm in the grand final rematch on Thursday evening.

In a match where neither side could be separated for most of the proceedings, the Panthers produced three inspirational plays in the closing stages to the delight of 14,077 supporters - many of whom had endured the impacts of flooding in the days leading up to the match.

Trailing by four points with two minutes left on the clock, Capewell broke free of several Melbourne defenders to level the scores. Stepping up as goal kicker in the absence of Nathan Cleary, young gun Stephen Crichton put the home side ahead for the first time in the match with a successful conversion.

Adding to the theatrics of the contest, the Storm regained possession from the kick-off and almost spoiled Penrith's party as Justin Olam got over the line, only for Viliame Kikau to prevent the ball from touching the grass in a display of effort set to be revered for years to come.

Confirming their premiership credentials by downing last year's premiers, the Panthers were directed around the park effectively by highly publicised replacement Matt Burton.

The visitors crossed for the opening try after former Panther Tom Eisenhuth stripped Brian To'o close to the line, allowing Brandon Smith (10th minute) to burrow over from close range moments later.

Coming close to responding through To'o, only for the Samoan winger to put a foot on the sideline while grounding the ball, the Panthers took advantage of a repeat set with Charlie Staines (30th minute) displaying fancy footwork to score his first of the season.

The Storm appeared to strike a pivotal blow on the stroke of halftime with Olam powering over, only for the call to be overturned due to an obstruction involving Kenny Bromwich impeding Dylan Edwards on the try line.

Forced to play the second half with Tyrone May at fullback after Edwards succumbed to a broken hand, a missed penalty goal attempt from Stephen Crichton saw the scores remain locked at 6-all for much of the second half.

Making the most of a scrum play close to the Panthers' goal line, a left side shift saw Josh Addo-Carr (65th minute) outpace Staines to the line.

Determined to make amends for their horror showing in last year's grand final, the Panthers rallied late to get the result off their perseverance with and without the ball.

Next week, the Panthers face the Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Thursday evening, while the Storm host the Broncos at AAMI Park on Good Friday.

3. Brian To'o

Running for over 200 metres, producing 5 tackle breaks and earning a crucial repeat set with the game on the line, the pint-sized winger had a huge bearing on the result.

2. Cameron Munster

Stepping up in the absence of several big name players, the five-eighth was especially dangerous with his running game.

1. Viliame Kikau

Producing a match-winning tackle on the final play of the match, the big man stood up with a big play.