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NRL: Panthers and Storm set for huge showdown

Penrith Panthers are just one game away from another NRL grand final, but the team that beat them there back in 2020, Melbourne Storm, stand in their way.

The Panthers and Storm have dominated in recent seasons, winning the last three grand finals between them and we are set for a massive battle at Accor Stadium on Friday night.

The Storm won the 2020 grand final 26-20, but the Panthers went on to win the next two against South Sydney and Parramatta.

The men from the mountains now have the chance to pull off the three-peat, but if anyone is capable of stopping them it is the Storm.

The Brisbane Broncos or New Zealand Warriors will be the prize for the winner in the grand final and the Panthers can be backed at 2.05 to go all the way.

The Storm are 11.00, but all that will change if they can cause a boilover against Penrith.

WhatPenrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm
WhereAccor Stadium, Sydney
When19:50 (AEST), Friday 22nd September 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsPenrith Panthers 1.20, Melbourne Storm 4.60

Luai return boosts Panthers

Penrith have again been the stand-out side in the NRL this season and will take some stopping as they attempt win a third grand final on the bounce.

The Panthers edged out the Broncos to win the minor premiership, then backed that up with a comfortable win over the Warriors in the first week of finals.

They should be well rested and raring to go following a week off and are the hot fancies at 1.20 heading into the game.

Penrith have a great record against the Storm. They may have lost that 2020 grand final, but have won seven of the last 11 games against the Storm and appear to have the wood over Craig Bellamy’s side.

Ivan Cleary’s men also have an outstanding record in finals, winning their last seven, and they will be very confident of making it eight.

The Panthers have won their last two games without Jarome Luai following a dislocated shoulder, but the five-eighth has been named to start on Friday night.

Penrith have a side packed with quality, but centre Stephen Crichton in particular, loves playing against the Storm.

He has scored four tries in the last five games against them and is priced at 2.35 to score at anytime on Friday.

Storm need to make improvements

The Storm have done remarkably well to get this far after being forced to cope without some key players.

They lost in the first week of finals against Brisbane, but bounced back well to defeat the Roosters at the death last week.

It was a gritty performance by the Storm and they got the job done, but they are well aware of the fact they will need to play a lot better if they are to beat Penrith.

The return of Jahrome Hughes will certainly boost their chances. The influential halfback has been named to play following a calf injury and his partnership with Cameron Munster in the halves will be huge.

Accor Stadium will hold no fear as the Storm have won five of their past six games at the venue.

If they are to beat the Panthers, it is likely to be tight, and they can be backed at 9.00 to win by 1-5 points.

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