NRL talking points & highlights: Melbourne to meet Penrith in Grand Final

Sam Harris has looked at the main talking points from the NRL preliminary finals.

Melbourne Storm 30-10 Canberra Raiders 

Melbourne produced a first half blitz against Canberra to reach their fourth Grand Final in five years.

The Storm led 16-0 after as many minutes with tries from Jesse Bromwich, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Suliasi Vunivalu before further tries from Justin Olam and Dale Finucane sealed the game.

Canberra, who had enough chances in the second half to post points but could not make their pressure count, saw both their tries scored by Bulldogs-bound winger Nick Cotric. 

In potential Cameron Smith’s final match, Melbourne will play Penrith at ANZ Stadium on Sunday in the decider while Canberra will look to go one step further in 2021, albeit without John Bateman who is returning to Wigan. 

Stat of the match: 10 – Melbourne have reached their 10th Grand Final, having claimed the Premiership in 1999, 2012 and 2017. 

Penrith Panthers 20-16 South Sydney Rabbitohs 

Penrith held off a fast finishing South Sydney to earn a place in their first Grand Final in 17 years.

After falling behind early to an Alex Johnston try, the Panthers led at the break after scores from Brian To’o and Tyrone May with Dylan Edwards’ four-pointer along with flawless goal kicking from Nathan Cleary saw them home. 

Under pressure and having trailed 14-6 at half-time, South Sydney hit back through Dane Gagai and set up a grandstand finish with Corey Allan’s superb improvisation but they failed in their bid to become the first team since the Bulldogs in 1995 to reach the final from sixth. 

Penrith will face the Storm in the showpiece event on Sunday while South Sydney will welcome back Latrell Mitchell and new signing Jai Arrow for 2021. 

Stat of the match: 2 – Penrith claimed the Premiership on their previous two Grand Final appearances in 1991 and 2003. 

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