Penrith Panthers 20 - 26 Melbourne Storm: Storm Hold Off Late Panthers Surge To Claim NRL Premiership
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Cameron Smith of the Storm lifts the Premiership Trophy during the 2020 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Storm produced a dominant first half display and led 22-0 thanks to a slightly controversial penalty try for Justin Olam as well as further scores from Suliasi Vunivalu and Cameron Smith.

Full-back Ryan Papenhuyzen extended Melbourne’s lead early in the second half, with the match looking all but won.

However, Penrith would not surrender and scored four consecutive tries through Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Josh Mansour and Nathan Cleary but it was not enough to deny Melbourne, who held on for the sensational victory.

Story of the Match

Melbourne opened the scoring after just four minutes. A pass thrown inside by Josh Addo-Carr found Olam, who went for the try line before the ball came loose thanks to the foot of Penrith defender Tyrone May.

The video referee was called in and decided it was an illegal play by May, with a penalty try awarded to Olam.

Smith easily converted before adding two penalty goals to extend the Storm’s lead to 10-0.

Penrith attempted a fightback but a long pass by Cleary was intercepted by Vunivalu, who escaped several defenders to score a spectacular 90 metre try.

Then there was enough time for veteran Smith to grab a try just before the break.

Apisai Koroisau knocked the ball loose from Smith as shown on replays before the latter picked up the loose ball and scored via the video referee.

Second Half

Early in the second half, another knock on by Penrith gifted Melbourne possession back before Papenhuyzen received the ball from the scrum and found a gap and dashed over 70 metres to score in the left corner.

The match looked gone but Penrith began their fightback shortly after Vunivalu had a possible second try chalked off for a knock on.

On the attack, Isaah Yeo put in a grubber kick to the corner for To’o to score, despite a possible obstruction in the build-up as shown on replays.

Shortly after Brenko Lee went close for Melbourne, Penrith then added their second as Crichton crashed over after the ball was shifted wide to him.

Then the Storm had to do it tough for the last ten minutes as Jahrome Hughes was sin-binned for a professional foul on Viliame Kikau.

From that, Mansour found his way over after collecting a long pass from Jarome Luai.

Then there was enough time for Cleary to grab a try in the final seconds shortly after Brandon Smith was shown a yellow card for the same offence as his team mate.

From the kick-off, the Panthers attempted to keep the ball alive but it was too little too late as Melbourne held on to claim the all-important title.