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.

Panthers v Storm: Kikau back on deck; Melbourne in good shape

All eyes are on Storm captain Cameron Smith. Will he retire after a peerless 430 matches across 19 seasons?

He's given nothing away despite the intense interest, but the scenes at Suncorp Stadium after Melbourne's preliminary final win over Canberra were perhaps indicative of a man bidding farewell.

The Panthers are shooting for 18 straight victories, led by star halfback Nathan Cleary and his father, coach Ivan.

Penrith are conceding vast experience to the Storm, but they're yet to be overawed as belief courses through them.

Storm facing potential fine as NRL seeks answers over Vunivalu stoppage

Vunivalu showed obvious discomfort in his left leg after a routine tackle in Saturday's 36-24 win over the Eels in the qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium.

But Storm trainer Matthew Barradeen ran onto the field as play continued and waved his arm to grab referee Ashley Klein's attention, well before he got to Vunivalu to assess him.

The Eels were on the attack up the other end of the field, but play was held up while the trainer stretched Vunivalu's limb.

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.

     

Melbourne Storm players call for end to violence after Solomone Taufeulungaki's stabbing death

Solomone Taufeulungaki was walking with his cousin when a group of up to 10 people ran towards them near the Brimbank Shopping Centre on Tuesday.

The group then set upon Solomone and he was fatally stabbed during a brawl.

While no-one has been charged over his death, six boys aged between 13 and 16 fronted a children's court on violent disorder and affray charges on Wednesday.

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.

Injury woes helped Storm sensation's union switch

The 24-year-old winger always had it in his mind to return to the 15-man game which he played as a youngster in Fiji and decided the time was right when the Queensland Reds came knocking with a substantial offer.

Vunivalu reportedly signed a deal in late November worth $1.8 million with the Reds and Rugby Australia.

While he didn't comment on the size of the deal, he said hamstring issues, which ruled him out of the Storm's painful preliminary final loss to Canberra last year as well as the World Cup Nines, helped him make the decision.

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.