NRL Grand Final

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.

More fans can attend grand final as NRL switches to ANZ from SCG

"ANZ Stadium is the biggest venue in NSW and that means more of our fans will be able to experience grand final day live,'' NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

"This year will be a historic grand final day. The teams competing would have overcome all challenges in front of them and we will experience the culmination of a season like no other.

"We can't wait to see 40,000 fans at the venue. Our fans have been so patient and loyal throughout the season and having crowd caps increase for the Finals Series is the perfect way to acknowledge that loyalty."

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.

North Queensland Cowboys beat Brisbane Broncos in golden-point thriller

The Cowboys trailed 16-12 for most of the second half before winger Kyle Feldt scored in the corner in the final seconds to take the game into golden-point extra-time.

Broncos half-back Ben Hunt dropped the ball from the extra-time kick-off to give the Cowboys a golden opportunity to snatch victory.

Thurston was set up for the field goal for the first tackle. He was swamped by the Broncos defence but could not be stopped from his second attempt moments later after a strong hit-up from prop James Tamou.