2022 NRL Round 22, Panthers 0 Storm 16 – Report

Shannon Meyer reviews the Thursday night blockbuster at Penrith Stadium.



Penrith Panthers 0
Tries: nil
Goals: nil

Melbourne Storm 16
Tries: Nick Meaney (17), Brandon Smith (19), David Nofoaluma (30)
Goals: Nick Meaney 2 (18, 21)


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On a sad day for rugby league, with the passing of Paul Green, premiership heavyweights Penrith and Melbourne put on a great show at Penrith Stadium, with the 2020 premiers Melbourne securing a 16-0 win, keeping Penrith scoreless through a heroic defensive performance.

Penrith were already missing their star halves duo, and lost arguably their best player this season in Dylan Edwards just before kick-off, so had more challenges than usual but still had most of a premiership-winning, competition-leading side.

The contest was a real arm wrestle early, with both sides taking turns in being the dominant side, one could say a taste of finals football ahead. It took quite a while for the first points and it was quite the try. From deep inside their own territory the Storm went down the blindside through Munster and Kenny Bromwich, who set Justin Olam on a burst down the sideline; the PNG international then provided the perfect in-field kick and Nick Meaney got the perfect bounce to open the scoring. He converted his own try to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.

Melbourne doubled their lead with the very next set and it was all Brandon Smith. The utility forward got the ball on the 40 metre line and simply broke his way through the Penrith line and evaded with Panthers fullback with ease to score under the posts. The Penrith crowd were silenced.

Penrith look set to score twice after a Nelson Asofa-Solomona knock-on close to the line. The first attempt was denied by a smashing Olam tackle; the second was denied after Viliame Kikau knock-on over the try line trying to get the ball down.

The Panthers were punished not long after as the Storm scored in the corner through David Nofoaluma after Panthers winger Sunia Turuva spilled a Storm bomb. The sideline conversion missed and left the score at 16-0 with 10 minutes to half-time. Melbourne could have added to their lead twice before the break, but a spectacular effort from Xavier Coates in the corner, and another Olam break down the left and beautiful in-field kick to Munster, fell just short.

Penrith came out and dominated the start of the second half, spending a lot of their time in the Storm 20 metre area, and having many chances to score. Melbourne’s desperate defence was well up to the task, somehow keeping Penrith scoreless after the countless attacks, and the score remained 16-0 with over 20 minutes to go.

In fact there were no more points at all in the second half, as Melbourne’s defence heroically kept the continuing Panther attacks at bay. It was the first time Penrith had been kept scoreless since June 2015, when coincidentally Melbourne won 20-0 at Penrith Stadium.

For Melbourne their star man Cameron Munster was sensational, part of most good things in attack, and making some key defensive plays when the Storm were under attack. It would be a great confidence boost for the Storm beating the competition-standard team on their turf, as they get closer to having their best team all on the park.

Penrith had a rare off night, out-enthused to a degree by Melbourne and they were a little clunky in attack, which is understandable given the key omissions. They’ll probably still win the minor premiership and feature on grand final day, but they certainly don’t look as bulletproof anymore.


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3 pts – Cameron Munster (Storm), 2 pts – Apisai Koroisau (Panthers), 1 pt – Justin Olam (Storm)

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