Live updates: NRL Grand Final - Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm in Sydney

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Panthers 20 Storm 26

Panthers - To'o, Cleary, Mansour & Crichton tries; Cleary 2 conversions

Storm - Vunivalu, Papenhuyzen & Cam Smith tries, penalty try (Olam); Smith 3 conversions & 2 penalties

Second half

40th minute: TRY to Cleary

Brandon Smith is sent to the bin, leaving the Storm with just 11 men. Cleary takes the tap and scores, turning down the conversion attempt.

Bellamy is beside himself. Smith kicks off and Penrith must go 100m.

They're playing basketball and eventually Kaufusi intercepts a pass from Martin to end the game with victory to Melbourne.

39th minute: Koroisau kicks in goal and Papenhuyzen can't reach the field of play. Storm dropout.

38th minute: Panthers busting out of their own half and Luai offloads to Kikau.

37th minute: Storm looking for a try that will seal victory, but a pass from Smith to Finucane travels forward. Penrith still need two tries.

36th minute: Papenhuyzen kicks behind the line, but Edwards forces for dropout. It's kicked short and Vunivalu claims it.

35th minute: Brandon Smith charges upfield, Cam Smith kicks high and Edwards knocks on. Brandon Smith starts the new set on the 10.

34th minute: Luai and Cleary combine in midfield, but Luai's high kick is marked in goal by Papenhuyzen.

33rd minute: Penrith have scored the last 16 points and still have a one-man advantage.

32nd minute: TRY to Mansour

Penrith earn a set restart inside the 10. They go left and Luai floats a pass wide to Mansour, who is unmarked in the corner.

Cleary's sideline conversion hooks wide left.

31st minute: Crichton threatens the line again, Cleary kicks through for Kikau, but Papenhuyzen gathers on the line.

Sutton calls for a review of the play and the bunker finds Hughes impeded Kikau in his chase for the ball. No penalty try, but Hughes will sit the remainder of the game.

30th minute: If Penrith are next to score - and quickly - we may yet have a contest. Kenny Bromwich is penalised in a tackle and the Panthers find touch in Storm half.

29th minute: TRY to Crichton

Storm turn the ball over in their own territory and when the ball comes left, Crichton rolls over in three tackles to narrow the deficit. Cleary converts.

28th minute: To'o comes of fhe wing, when the ball goes right, Naden passes around the corner to Cleary.

Luai dashes left, but Asofa-Solomona takes Kikau on the last tackle.

26th minute: Melbourne have gone into their shell, just trying to grind this game to the end.

Cam Smith is penalised in a tackle, but Papenhuyzen leaps out of bounds to keep the kick in the field of play.

25th minute: Crichton gives Mansour some space on the left, but when he tries to kick, it's gathered by Lee.

24th minute: Brandon Smith is featuring prominently, Kaufusi is stopped short by Edwards and Lee is held up near the right touchline.

On the last, Cam Smith's grubber rolls dead for a seven-tackle set.

23rd minute: Storm earn a set restart, as Faasuamaleaui crosses halfway.

22nd minute: Cleary kicks high on the last, but Kikau spills the ball forward underneath.

21st minute: From the tap, Munster throws a pass off  the shoulder of Faasuamaleaui - that won't improve Bellamy's mood.

20th minute: Brandon Smith tries to offload to Ado-Carr on the burst, but it goes loose. Naden is penalised and Smith calms things down - Bellamy is livid in the coach's box.

19th minute: Hughes chips on the last, the ball bobbles around, but Penrith eventually gather. They quickly turn the ball over again - Finucane is sent off for an HIA, after that Kikau tackle.

18th minute: Kikau tries to put a big hit on Finucane, who is slow to get up from that one.

17th minute: Luai passes off the ground, but Mansour knocks on. Errors are suffocating the Panthers.

16th minute: Finucane kicks on the last - obviously inspired by Yeo's effort at the other end - and Ado-Carr gathers, but dies on the last tackle.

14th minute: Well, that's given Penrith some hope and now they charge forward with a bit more purpose. Koroisau spills the ball to deflate the balloon.

13th minute: TRY to To'o

Penrith earn a penalty on the Storm 40 - here's a chance to get some points back.

The ball goes right and Yeo grubbers towards the corner, where To'o may have scored. Replays clear Yeo and Fisher-Harris of obstruction, and To'o grounds on the goal-line and remains in the field of play.

Commentators disagree with the decision, but try stands. Cleary hits the right upright with his conversion and it bounces over.

12th minute: Melbourne go left, then right, before Brandon Smith runs straight up the middle.

Hughes chips to the corner, where Vunivalu runs onto the ball to ground.

Replays show he clearly knocked on, so no try.

10th minute: Brandon Smith is back on the field, so he's passed his HIA. Storm earn a penalty for a head-high May tackle, so he's still there.

Ninth minute: Kikau threatens the defensive line, but is called for a knock-on in the play-the-ball - another costly error for Penrith.

Eighth minute: Storm go left, but the final pass to Ado-Carr is forward and knocked on.

Naden enters the game for May. Asofa-Solomona leaves the game, holding his wrist.

Fifth minute: TRY to Papenhuyzen

Sutton calls a knock-on against Leota in a tackle, but Penrith challenge. Replays show a loose carry - challenge unsuccessful.

From the scrum, Papenhuyzen is first receiver and shimmies through space to scamper 60m for the try that probably seals victorty with 35 minutes remaining.

Smith misses a conversion from the sideline.

Fourth minute: Penrith have an attacking chance, after Munster tries to catch and pass to Ado-Carr, but the ball goes loose.

Third minute: Yeo makes metres for Penrith, but they're sturggling to exit their half. Cleary kicks from his 40, the ball bounces behind the goal-line, but Papenhuyzen eventually gathers it.

SEcond minute: Big Nasty takes another bullocking run for the Storm, Hughes runs off him and Munster finds touch metres out from the line.

First minute: Cam Smith kicks off the the Storm. Cleary kicks long on the last tackle.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary states the obvious - they need to score next and hold the Storm scoreless for the second half.

Meanwhile, Cam Smith has broken the record for Grand Final career points.


40th minute: TRY to Cameron Smith

Asofa-Solomona surges towards the posts, Papenhuyzen probes right and NAS takes another shot at the line.

Smith runs from dummy half and Koroisau knocks the ball from his grasp, Smith regathers and grounds between the posts - not what Penrith needed as the halftime siren sounds.

39th minute: Storm earn six more tackles on the fifth tackle, just metres out from the line, but then Sutton penalises Penrith and Smith kicks to touch.

37th minute: Panthers shift the ball right, but May's pass to To'o is forward and he spills it.

36th minute: Penrith still tackling strongly, but Welch reaches halfway.

35th minute: Melbourne send the ball right, Kaufusi tries to kick to the line, but into the defence.

33rd minute: Storm have the ball inside Panthers half - it goes loose, but Kikau knocks it forward. Replays show Kaufusi knocked it back for the Storm - play is going all Melbourne's way. 

30th minute: TRY to Vunivalu

Welch has passed his HIA. Panthers look for a way through.

Cleary floats a ball left, but Vunivalu pounces for the intercept. He stumbles, but regains his feet to gallop length of the field to score.

Smith converts.

29th minute: Panthers keep Storm to their own 30 and Edwards is safe under a high kick. They earn a set restart and then a penalty on attack.

27th minute: Smith is successful from the same spot, extending Melbourne's lead to double figures. Penrith need to score next.

26th minute: Storm look promising, but as the ball goes right, it goes loose. Brandon Smith is smashed in a tackle by Fisher-Harris after passing.

Smith goes off for an HIA, Fisher-Harris is penalised and Cam Smith lines up another penalty.

25th minute: Kikau threatens to split the Storm defence, shrugging off Hughes' tackle, but can't control the ball and spills it.

24th minute: Brandon Smith makes a break up centrefield, giving Melbourne momentum. Faasuamaleaui is on for the Storm.

Smith kicks the ball into Martin and it rebounds into touch - Panthers feed.

23rd minute: Cam Smith slots the penalty from in front - very fortuitous for Melbourne, after Brandon Smith seemed to lose the ball.

21st minute: Brandon Smith loses the ball in a tackle, but Sutton rules it bounced off a Panthers player and Kikau is offside when he gathers it.

Storm will have a penalthy in centrefield on attack.

20th minute: Panthers goe right, but Storm defence is strong out there. Cleary kicks across the field, but Vunivalu grabs the ball for Melbourne.

18th minute: Kiwi Brandon Smith is on for Melbourne. Penrith building more pressure.

Cleary kicks high and bodies go flying everywhere, with Papenhuyzen securing the ball.

17th minute: ON the last tackle, Cleary kicks towards the posts, Martin catches and lobs it left, where Luai kicks for Crichton, who also kicks, but Hughes eventually tides up for Melbourne. Phew!

16th minute: May and Edwards almost create some space out right, and when the ball goes left, Kikau is barely dragged down short. 

Crichton is over, but Sutton calls 'no try'. Replays show the ball grounded short of the line and never grounded over it - another lucky let-off for Storm.

Welch is off for an HIA, Finucane comes on.

15th minute: Penrith have a repeat set hot on attack. Yeo lunges at the posts, six more tackles given.

13th minute: Kenny Bromwich knocks on in a tackle within the shadow of the posts - that's costly.

12th minute: Smith kicks long from his own 40 to the Penrith 10. Kikau tries to offload, but is peanlised for passing from the ground in a tackle.

Storm go on attack again.

11th minute: Yeo makes good metres up the middle for Penrith, Papenhuyzen is safe under a high ball.

10th minute: Cleary kicks high to Ado-Carr on the last tackle. Storm are over halfway again, making easy metres.

Smith dribbles a kick towards the posts, but Edwards tidies.

Ninth minute: Asofa-Solomona reaches halfway, Hughes kicks high, but Edwards is safe on his goal-line.

Eighth minute: Panthers earn a set restart about 10m out from the line. They are probing for a way through, but Koroisau is flattened by Welch.

When the ball goes left, Mansour dives over in the corner. Replays show Crichton contacted with defender Lee, so the try is disallowed.

Sixth minute: Melbourne try to run the ball out of their half, but Kenny Bromwich's pass is behind Olam and he spills it forward.

Fourth minute: Penalty try to Melbourne (Olam)

Melbourne send the ball left, where Papenhuyzen injects some speed. Olam lunges at the line and Sutton has called no try.

Replays show May kicked at the ball and knocked it loose before Olam could force. Penalty try.

Smith converts from in front and that's taken the air out of the stadium.

Third minute: Storm make it to halfway and Smith kicks high for Edwards. Koroisau loses the ball and Melbourne go on attack.

Second minute: On the last tackle, Cleary chips, but it's tapped backwards and Kenny Bromwich is there to grab it for Storm.

First minute: Nathan Cleary will kick off for the Panthers, the ball bounces awkwardly and eventually tracked down by the Storm, who knock on in the first tackle. Penrith with an attacking scrum.

Pre-Game: Congratulations to Georgia Hale from NZ Warriors, rewarded for her services to the community.

Pre-Game: Veteran commentator Ray Warren is calling his 46th Grand Final.

The game ball has arrived in fittingly ludicrous fashion - in a Blackhawk helicopter - collected by Storm icon Ryan Hoffman and Panthers legend Greg Alexander - both former NZ Warriors players.

Waether has been wet all day, but rains seems to be easing for the big game.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, 40,000 fans have been allowed into ANZ Stadium for this Grand Final.

Gerard Sutton will be our referee tonight.

Pre-Game: NRL has honoured players retiring at the end of this season, with former Kiwi Sam McKendry and Warrior Jayson Bukuya among those in attendance.

Among those honoured 'in absentia' are Kiwis/Warriors Adam Blair, Gerard Beale, Lorina Papali'i and Sarina Clark.

Pre-Game: Congratulations to coach Kelvin Wright and second-rower Amber Hall for guiding Brisbane Broncos to their third straight NRLW title.

The Broncos beat Sydney Roosters 20-10 in the Grand Final, with tries to Hall, Tamika Upton, Chelsea Lenarduzzi and Tallisha Harden.

Wright has previously coached the NZ Junior Kiwis and Kiwis Ferns, and this was his second NRLW title.

Hall took out the Karyn Murphy Medal as Grand Final MVP - she was born in Auckland and represented the Kiwis Ferns at the 2017 World Cup.  

Late Mail: Coach Ivan Cleary has made a late change to the Panthers starting line-up, bringin Tyrone May into the centres and moving Brent Naden back to the bench.

Melbourne will line up as named during the week.


Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the NRL Grand Final between Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm from Sydney.

A dramatic coronavirus-inspired season finally reaches its climax with a clash between the competition's top-ranked teams, as the Panthers try to preserve a 17-game winning streak that dates back to June, when they lost to Parramatta in Round Five.

Ironically, that unbeaten run began with a 21-14 victory over Melbourne.

The father-son combo of Ivan and Nathan Cleary remains a plot-line near and dear to Warriors fans, who still remember how dad guided the Auckland club to the 2011 Grand Final - and the wee tacker growing up on the Mt Smart sidelines.

Melbourne have their own story-line unfolding, with Cam Smith's will-he/won't-he retirement decision still pending.

For Kiwi fans, a couple of juicy match-ups stand out, with Melbourne's Jahrome Hughes facing Penrith's Jarome Luai in the halves and Nelson Asofa-Solomona on a collision course with James Fisher-Harris up the middle.

Somewhat surprisingly, Melbourne have been installed as favourites.

TAB: Melbourne Storm $1.66, Penrith Panthers $2.18

Penrith Panthers: 1-Dylan Edwards, 2-Josh Mansour, 3-Brent Naden, 4-Stephen Crichton, 5-Brian To'o, 6-Jarome Luai, 7-Nathan Cleary, 8-James Tamou, 9-Apisai Koroisau, 10-James Fisher-Harris, 11-Viliame Kikau, 12-Liam Martin, 13-Isaiah Yeo

Interchange: 14-Tyrone May, 15-Kurt Capewell, 16-Moses Leota, 17-Zane Tetevano

Melbourne Storm: 1-Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2-Suliasai Vunivalu, 3-Brenko Lee, 4-Justin Olam, 5-Josh Addo-Carr, 6-Cameron Munster, 7-Jahrome Hughes, 8-Jesse Bromwich, 9-Cameron Smith, 10-Christian Welch, 11-Felise Kaufusi, 12-Kenny Bromwich, 13-Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Interchange: 14-Brandon Smith, 15-Tino Faasumamaleaui, 16-Dale Finucane, 17-Nicho Hynes 


All Blacks greats help Panthers prepare for NRL Grand Final



Penrith Panthers have turned to an All Blacks World Cup-winning duo to help them prepare for Sunday's NRL Grand Final against Melbourne Storm in Sydney. 

Unbeaten in 17 games, the Panthers are chasing their first NRL Premiership since 2003, while the Storm will contest their fourth Grand Final in five years. 

Earlier in the playoffs, the Panthers playing group had Richie McCaw address the team, with coach Ivan Cleary repeatedly including key messages from the All Blacks legend's Chasing Great documentary during team-talks and weekly gameplans.

On Saturday, another All Blacks great addressed the Panthers, with Dan Carter offering his support to the team.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Carter addressed the entire Grand Final squad via video, before the Panthers captains run, speaking about "staying in the zone" and "trusting each other".

Aussie surfing great Mick Fanning has also spoken to the team during the playoffs. 

Richie McCaw & Dan Carter with the Webb Ellis Trophy
Richie McCaw & Dan Carter with the Webb Ellis Trophy. Photo credit: Photosport

Earlier this week, NZ international James Fisher-Harris, who will start at prop for the Panthers in the Grand Final, spoke about how McCaw had influenced his playing career.

"I loved watching Richie McCaw - he's up there and Jonah Lomu, guys like that," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"Richie, he has a dig, he has a go... I saw his documentary, which showed the mentality that he has, and he's a champion, so there is a lot to learn from someone like him." 

Panthers assistant Trent Barrett has also spoken of the role McCaw has had on the team. 

"It was very good, it was about staying present and staying in the moment,'' says Barrett.

"Everyone has got a different role to play and that's what we've trained for, to put ourselves in a position that we know when we're under pressure, things are going to hold up.

"He spoke about that. He's one of the best, if not the best All Black that has ever played, so I immediately think the players have taken something from him.''