Penrith beat Storm, prove NRL credentials

Scott Bailey
Viliame Kikau scores the decisive try as Penrith beat Melbourne 21-14 in the NRL at Campbelltown

Penrith have proved their NRL premiership credentials as a flying Viliame Kikau helped them to just their third win over Melbourne in 15 years.

With scores locked at 14-14 with 17 minutes to play, Kikau pulled off the match-defining play when he charged onto a shallow Nathan Cleary bomb to score.

The hulking second-rower took the ball unchallenged to score, infuriating Melbourne captain Cameron Smith and prompting him to label the Storm's finish as "uncharacteristic".

Cleary then slotted a field goal from 30 metres out with four minutes to play to seal the victory.

The win means they will finish the round in the top four, after also shocking two-time defending champions the Sydney Roosters in round one.

"It's always nice to get the notch on the belt when you play the best teams," coach Ivan Cleary said.

"And those teams are clearly the best over the last so many years.

"It's good for confidence. But those two games are a long way apart.

"It's cool, really cool. Proud achievement to beat Melbourne at any time."

In a high-quality match at Campbelltown, both sides completed at above 80 per cent in a match that ebbed and flowed throughout.

Penrith shot out to a 6-0 lead early when Stephen Crichton benefited from some nice lead up play by Jarome Luai and Josh Mansour, and showed plenty of steel in defence.

Brian To'o got the Panthers' second after the break - this time on the right edge - when they spread the ball and did the Storm for numbers.

But while they lacked significant muscle in the middle, Melbourne still showed glimpses of their best with Cameron Munster the star in attack.

He first put Felise Kaufusi over from close to the line before a bullet two-man cut-out ball got Brenko Lee over untouched in the second.

However, it mattered for little when Kikau made the match-turning catch and score with 17 minutes to go, as Melbourne completely mis-read the kick chase.

"That try just about summed it up," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"Watching him and (centre) Crichton all week, and there was no-one within five or six metres of him when he caught the ball.

"I just didn't think we were good enough all night ... We were just out-played, out-enthused and out-aggressed."

Meanwhile, Smith failed in his first captain's challenge of the year, after what turned out to be a critical play before the break.

Smith was penalised for taking out Nathan Cleary on a kick chase right on half-time, allowing the playmaker to make it 8-6.

The Storm skipper argued his case with referee Ashley Klein, but opted not to challenge the call when asked by Klein if he wanted to.

He then did eventually use his challenge, unsuccessfully appealing that Penrith had made a second effort on Suliasi Vunivalu to put him into touch in the second half.