Thursday 25th March at BlueBet Stadium
Penrith 12– Tries: Capewell (1), Staines (1); Goals: Crichton (2) | Melbourne 10
In the rematch of the two 2020 NRL grand finalists, the Storm posted the first points to lead 6-0 after 10 minutes – more significantly they were the first points that the Panthers had conceded in just under 170 minutes to start the season.
Despite Brian To’o being denied a potential equaliser when his foot went into touch before grounding it, there was no such doubt on the half hour mark when Charlie Staines scored in the opposite corner, sidestepping the sliding cover defence only metres out to touch down. Stephen Crichton’s conversion from the sideline levelled it up at 6-all – it would remain that score heading into half time.
In a tight second half battle, the Storm finally broke ahead in the 64th minute, but remained unconverted to be 10-6.
With just under two minutes remaining, the Panthers moved the ball around, with Charlie Staines passing it back inside from the right wing to Kurt Capewell, who from a standing start 10 metres out, stepped and jinked his way, evading three defenders in his path to the try line, slamming it over with his out stretched right arm. The try locked it up at 10-all, with Crichton’s conversion giving the Panthers a 12-10 lead heading into the final minute.
However, a short restart from the Storm was knocked on by the Panthers, which gave them one final chance. As the full time siren sounded, the Storm had seemingly crossed for the match winner, only for Viliame Kikau to hold the ball up in the in goal, and therefore the Panthers holding up for a pulsating two point victory, and in some way avenge for the grand final defeat.