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Panthers stun Melbourne 12-10

David Simmons

Penrith produced the upset of the season on Sunday night, ending an eight-year drought against defending NRL premiers Melbourne with a stunning 12-10 victory.
Panthers stun Melbourne 12-10
by AAP

By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, May 12 AAP - Penrith produced the upset of the season on Sunday night, ending an eight-year drought against defending NRL premiers Melbourne with a stunning 12-10 victory.

Just eight days after having their 15-game winning streak ended by Canberra, the Storm had another streak snapped.

They'd won their previous 11 clashes against the Panthers, dating back to June 18, 2005.


But that meant nothing at Centrebet Stadium as the Panthers grimly defended their way to a famous victory despite scoring all of their 12 points in the first half and having to defend a two-point lead for the final 24 minutes.

The Panthers shot out to a 12-0 half-time lead in front of 7,803 delirious fans on the back of a double to try-scoring whiz David Simmons.

The winger opened the scoring with an 80-metre intercept from Gareth Widdop after 11 minutes, and added to his tally when he bounced off a Billy Slater shoulder charge to finish expertly in the corner.

His first-half efforts were split by a four-pointer to Travis Robinson, who snapped up a Luke Walsh cross-field kick.

Walsh had an off night in front of goal, missing all three first half conversions, but his in-game kicking was superb.

The Storm hit back straight away after the break, with winger Sisa Waqa capitalising on a Robinson error just four minutes into the second half.

They clawed to within two points in the 56th minute through a converted try to Jesse Bromwich.

The monster prop pounced on a loose ball in goal after the Panthers had stripped the ball from Cameron Smith over the tryline, ensuring a tense finish.

The home side had success punching through the middle of the field, taking advantage of their superior forward pack.

The Storm now have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since July 27 last year, leaving South Sydney alone at the top of the NRL ladder.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said Melbourne had expected his side to fold under pressure in the second half.

"To withstand that second half, they had a lot of possession and didn't make many errors," Cleary said.

"I think they were just waiting for us to fold and we didn't."

The Panthers stepped up in defence in a big way, lending to the belief that a physical approach is the best way of stopping the Storm.

"There's different theories going around about how you beat the Storm but you can't give up too many points," Cleary added.

"You can't beat them unless you defend well. That was probably our foundation."

Storm skipper Smith lamented his side's slow starts and said it felt like a replica of the narrow loss to Canberra last start.

"We don't particularly like losing, no team does," he said.

"But we always seem to bounce back pretty well the next week and put in a pretty solid performance.

"But it was almost a replica of last week.

"We just lacked a lot of energy early on and that's where the Panthers got us."




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