TODAY |

Viliame Kikau's epic try saving effort sees Panthers hold on to victory over Storm

Penrith pulled off the NRL comeback they needed five months ago to claim a 12-10 win over Melbourne in a thrilling grand final rematch.

In what will likely go down as one of the games of the year, Viliame Kikau nailed the defensive play of the season after the siren to help the Panthers hold on.

With Melbourne on the attack after the siren and the ball going from side-to- side, the Storm looked certain to score when Justin Olam went over.

But Kikau, who had been taken out earlier in the play and was left sprawled on the ground, managed to sprint across field and hold Olam up to save the try at Penrith Stadium.

It ended a hectic final 12 minutes, where the game swung back and forth in the after scores had been locked at 6-6 for the majority of the second half.

Josh Addo-Carr first looked as if he had scored the match-winner for Melbourne when he went over from a scrum play, putting the Storm up 10-6.

Penrith then took the lead with two minutes to play when Paul Momirovksi flicked a ball to Charlie Staines, who stepped and found Kurt Capewell back inside him.

Melbourne regathered the ball after a Penrith error from the kick-off, but Kikau's heroics after the siren saved the day for the Panthers.

The result came five months to the day after the grand final, where Penrith's bid to reel in a 26-0 scoreline fell one try short.

"I don't know how to describe that. Sometimes the pain of losing drives you to do things you wouldn't normally do," coach Ivan Cleary said.

"Naturally you are going to be motivated for this game.

"It's hard to explain that last minute ... the last play of the game summed up (their courage)."

But it came at a cost for Penrith, their spine now further weakened with a suspected broken hand to Dylan Edwards.

With Apisai Koroisau out with a broken wrist and Nathan Cleary missing on Thursday through concussion, Edwards did not return after halftime.

Edwards had been the hosts' best in the first half, before his injury left Tyrone May filling in and Penrith facing a shortage in their backline for next week.

Meanwhile the NRL's most talked about half Matt Burton didn't disappoint deputising for Nathan Cleary.

There was nothing spectacular but there were obvious signs of why Canterbury are so desperate to get their hands on him before his planned move at the end of the season.

The 21-year-old lived up to Nathan's claims he had the "biggest boot" he'd ever seen, while Andrew Johns claimed in the Nine Network's coverage he was a star of the future.

Meanwhile Nicho Hynes was superb forthe Storm filling in at fullback, creating the numbers for Addo-Carr's late match-winner.

Brandon Smith also had his best game of the year at hooker, scoring the game's opener for Melbourne after a Tom Eisenhuth one-on-one strip on Brian To'o.

"They were brave," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"They just kept hanging in there. But we did some silly things. Just some little points in the game where we just didn't seem to have that effort area."

Eisenhuth suffered a suspected broken rib after being hit in a tackle by Spencer Leniu.

Leniu was later hurt by what he claimed was a hip-drop tackle from Cameron Munster.