Cameron Munster kicked a field goal with three minutes to play to send Melbourne Storm to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final with a 29-28 victory over South Sydney Rabbitohs in a classic.
The Rabbitohs scored first when their tactic of kicking to Campbell Graham paid off. Josh Addo-Carr couldn’t deal with Adam Reynolds’ kick allowing Dane Gagai to dive over.
Reynolds added a penalty before Melbourne drew level after creating a simple overlap on the right for Curtis Scott.
Souths regained the lead briefly with another penalty but some magic from Billy Slater earned a try for Suliasi Vunivalu.
But Vunivalu was caught napping when Robert Jennings did brilliantly to flick the ball to Greg Inglis before the tackle was complete. Vunivalu was too busy talking to the sideline official to tackle the try-scoring Inglis.
Hero to Villain to Hero. Vunivalu was on hand only two minutes later to finish off a brilliant break from Brodie Croft with half-time looming.
Melbourne edged out to a six-point lead with Cameron Smith’s penalty after George Burgess was binned for a professional foul.
But Souths were able to keep the Storm at bay and move level through Inglis’ second try. He did brilliantly to grab Reynolds’ kick and bulldoze over Slater. They then gained the advantage as their sweeping move to the left worked once again for Jennings.
Cheyse Blair’s try squared up the match for the third time before Cameron Murray beat Joe Stimson one-on-one to give the Rabbitohs a six-point lead.
But that lead lasted a matter of moments. The Storm moved the ball left to Addo-Carr who kicked back inside for Blair’s second try. Munster then kicked the field goal to win it for the Storm.
Storm: Slater, Vunivalu, Blair, Scott, Addo-Carr, Munster, Croft, J Bromwich, C Smith, Glasby, Kaufusi, Stimson, Finucane; Interchanges: B Smith, Welch, K Bromwich, Kasiano
Tries: Scott, Vunivalu 2, Blair 2; Goals: C Smith 4; Field goal: Munster (77)
Rabbitohs: Johnston, Graham, Inglis, Gagai, Jennings, Walker, Reynolds, T Burgess, Cook, G Burgess, Sutton, Crichton, S Burgess; Interchanges: Hunt, Murray, Clark, Britt
Tries: Gagai, Inglis 2, Jennings, Murray; Goals: Reynolds 4
Sin bin: G Burgess (45) – professional foul
Full match reports of all four NRL Finals games will feature in Monday’s League Express.