Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm collide in a blockbuster Grand Final rematch to launch NRL Round 3 action on Thursday night.
Panthers vs Storm Tips, Preview & Predictions
Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm free NRL tips, predictions and preview – the Panthers have won just nine of their 36 meetings with the Storm…
Panthers vs Storm Tips
Panthers vs Storm Same Game Multi Tips
Panthers vs Storm Match Details
🇦🇺 Competition: NRL
🗓 Date: Thursday March 25
⏰ Time: 8.05pm AEDT
🏟 Stadium: Panthers Stadium
Panthers vs Storm Head to Head (last five matches)
- 25/10/20: Panthers 20-26 Storm
- 19/6/20: Panthers 21-14 Storm
- 30/3/19: Panthers 2-32 Storm
- 31/8/18: Storm 16-22 Panthers
- 1/4/17: Storm 28-6 Panthers
Panthers vs Storm Preview
A heavyweight Grand Final rematch awaits at the foot of the mountains on Thursday night as the Panthers and Storm square off for early bragging rights for 2021.
These two teams were by far and away the best and most consistent sides of 2020, but it was Craig Bellamy’s Melbourne outfit who produced their best football at the big dance, blowing Penrith away early before holding on for a six-point victory.
The more things change, the more things stay the same at Melbourne – their Big 3 of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith have all now retired, but their ‘New 3’ of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster and Brandon Smith ( and Harry Grant once he returns from injury) are already on their way to creating a new dynasty.
Melbourne were outstanding in an opening round victory over South Sydney, but they suffered a tight loss to the Eels at Bankwest in horrible conditions last week. The Storm haven’t lost back-to-back games since 2018 and Bellamy will have his team fully focused on continuing that trend on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Panthers couldn’t have bounced back from that Grand Final disappointment in any better fashion to begin 2021, winning both of their matches without conceding a single point.
Penrith are the first team in 102 years to win three straight regular season games to nil, dating back to last season. Their young team appears determined to go one better than last season and at this stage aren’t showing any signs of a Grand Final hangover.
Nathan Cleary went down with concussion last week, but the star halfback should be cleared fit to play on Thursday night.
The bookies can’t split these two sides and that’s not surprising in the slightest. It’s a toss of the coin, but I’ve got to lean with Melbourne.
Penrith may not have conceded a point in 2021, but they’ve played two of the weakest sides in the competition in the Cowboys and Bulldogs. Melbourne meanwhile have played two of the strongest in Souths and Parramatta.
As mentioned, the Storm haven’t lost two games in a row since 2018 and they’ve got a tremendous record throughout history over Penrith. In a 50-50 game, those are two big factors. Storm in an incredibly tight one.
Panthers vs Storm Teams
Penrith have named the same 17 that took care of the Bulldogs last week, with Nathan Cleary cleared of any lasting concussion.
Tom Eisenhuth comes into the Storm starting side for the suspended Felise Kaufusi, while Aaron Pene and Nicho Hynes join the bench.
Panthers team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Liam Martin 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Matt Burton 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Jaeman Salmon
Storm team: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Tom Eisenhuth 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 14. Aaron Pene 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Chris Lewis 17. Nicholas Hynes 18. Cooper Johns 19. Darryn Schonig 20. Tyson Smoothy 21. Dean Ieremia
Panthers vs Storm Stats
- Panthers have won just nine of 36 meetings with the Storm
- Storm haven’t lost back-to-back games since 2018
- Justin Olam has scored a try in eight of his last 11 matches, including his last four straight
- Eight of Penrith’s last 10 matches have gone under the total points line
- Brian To’o has scored a try in each of Penrith’s last three night matches