Melbourne Storm

Storm hold off Panthers grand final fightback

The Storm dominated all but the last 10 minutes of a season finale, played in front of a rain-drenched crowd of 40,000, that had looked highly unlikely when the league ground to a halt after two rounds in March because of the coronavirus crisis.

The Panthers reached the championship decider on the back of a 17-match winning streak but they were unable to break free of a stifling Melbourne defence until it was too late to make a difference.

Best wishes to Olam from Simbu

He will be the second Papua New Guinean to play in an NRL grand final with Melbourne Storm; following closely in the steps of his inspiration – Marcus Bai.

The 26-year-old Simbu man wears his heart on his sleeves every time he takes the field. He knows his country, and especially his family back home, closely watch his every move; celebrating and crying with him every step of the way.

Though he is in his Melbourne Storm colours, PNG’s red, black and gold always shine through.

Kearney gets job with Storm

Kearney has signed a 12-month deal with the Storm.

In doing so, he will return to where it all began for him as a coach, having previously been Bellamy's assistant between 2006 and 2010.

Kearney also played 139 games for the Storm between 1999 and 2004, forming part of their inaugural premiership-winning side.

     

Tigers and Storm claim NRL wins

The hosts made a flying start when Mikaele Ravalawa was awarded a penalty try in the second minute – Corey Thompson shoving the Fijian to the floor as he was about to ground an in-goal kick at the end of a 70-metre run.

David Nofoaluma grabbed a clever kick from the inspired Benji Marshall, who booted eight points, to level matters but Zac Lomax went over and added his own extras to ensure the Dragons led 12-8 at the break.

A lot expected of Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Nicknamed Big Nasty, Asofa-Solomona hadn't played in a month before their preliminary final win over Cronulla due to an ankle injury.

Coming off the bench, he used his 201cm, 123kg frame to plenty of damage through the middle against the Sharks while making 21 tackles.

But Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles warned the New Zealand Test prop would be better for the hit-out and he expected an improved performance at ANZ Stadium.

Storm into final four

In a dramatic start to this year's final series, the Rabbitohs appeared to have clinched a preliminary final when Cameron Murray controversially stormed over with nine minutes to go.

But Munster set up a line break for Billy Slater and then stepped up to nail a 31-metre field goal to send a raucous crowd of 17,306 at AAMI Park into raptures.

The Rabbitohs now wait on the winner of Sunday's elimination final between Brisbane and St George Illawarra to keep their season alive next week.

Warriors fall to table-topping Storm

The premiers haven't always been pretty on a winning run that stretches seven matches but they did enough again at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

In a far cry from their 50-10 win over the Warriors on Anzac Day, Melbourne relied on defensive scrambling, slightly better control and some fortunate referee calls to join South Sydney and St George Illawarra on 13 wins.

A superior points differential puts them on top and on target to repeat their minor premiership win in 2017.

Rd.9 Hostplus Team Update

After a sustained period of strong form in the Intrust Super Cup, PNG flyer Justin Olam is in line to make his NRL debut on Sunday. A debut for the 24-year old would see him follow in the footsteps of Storm legend and PNG native Marcus Bai.

The turnaround proved too short for Curtis Scott who will miss the match with an ankle injury but should be available for selection in Round 10. While Young Tonumaipea injured his hamstring at training on Thursday and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

Bennett questions controversial Slater 'drop-kick' try ruling

Slater drop-kicked the ball for himself close to the line to set up the Storm's opening try in what the NRL has since deemed to be an initial correct ruling by the on-field referee Ashley Klein.

Klein sent the ruling to the Bunker which confirmed the try. Klein then explained to Brisbane captain Darius Boyd that Slater was entitled to drop-kick the ball and didn't have to necessarily kick for the posts.

NRL referees boss Bernie Sutton explained why the correct ruling was made (see video below).

Benji and Brooks brilliant as Tigers stun Storm

It's the second time in three weeks that the Tigers have beaten the Storm, both efforts based on courageous defence and new-found grit.

It is the first time the Storm have lost consecutive away games since 2015.

While Marshall grabbed the headlines, hitting the match-winner from 25 metres out, Brooks was the one getting pats on the back from his coach.

Ivan Cleary said he felt his No.7 put in "one of his best" performances and stepped up when it mattered.

"Late in the game, Benji and Luke came up with some big plays," he said.