Penrith put Storm celebrations on hold

Melbourne passed up the chance of sealing the Minor Premiership with a 22-16 defeat to Penrith Panthers.

The Storm will still win the Minor Premiership if the Roosters don’t win by 27 or more, however.

After Cameron Smith gave the Storm a slender lead, Josh Mansour replied with a try for the Panthers to hand Penrith the lead.

But Mansour was sent for ten in the bin for a professional foul and with the winger almost ready to return to the field, Felise Kaufusi cracked the Panthers to hand the advantage back to Melbourne.

The Panthers were able to survive another sin bin when James Tamou was sent for ten after repeated offences from Penrith. In fact, just after his return, they drew level through Mansour’s second try.

Waqa Blake’s try off James Maloney’s kick then allowed Penrith to hit the front. Then, the centre was able to gather in Nathan Cleary’s kick as the Panthers pulled away into a two-try lead.

Christian Crichton expertly intercepted Cheyse Blair’s pass, got up and ran away to score to make Penrith’s lead twelve.

That lead was cut in half when Scott Drinkwater, Josh Drinkwater’s younger brother, scored after a great offload from Dale Finucane but Penrith hung on.

Storm: Drinkwater, Olam, Blair, Scott, Addo-Carr, Jacks, Hughes, Bromwich, Smith, Welch, Kaufusi, Stimson, Finucane; Interchanges: Glasby, Bromwich, Kamikamica, Kasiano, Hoffman
Tries: Kaufusi, Drinkwater; Goals: Smith 4

Panthers: Watene-Zelezniak, Mansour, Blake, Peachey, Crichton, Maloney, Cleary, Merrin, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Kikau, Yeo, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: May, Leota, Harawira-Naera, Tamou, Hetherington
Tries: Mansour 2, Blake 2, Christian; Goals: Cleary
Sin bins: Mansour (18) – professional foul, Tamou (33) – repeated team offences

Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.