Melbourne have kept their top four hopes alive by thundering to a 24-10 road win against an ill-disciplined Penrith side on Monday night.
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Smith's pre-game pep-talk inspires win
Cleary confident Penrith duo will dodge bans
WATCH: Koroibete's intercept try
WATCH: Full match highlights
WATCH: Storm press conference
WATCH: Panthers press conference
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Match stats, scores, highlights
In slippery conditions at the foot of the mountains, the Storm moved to within two points of the fourth-placed Panthers, who will now have to win at Brookvale next week to keep their finals second chance alive.
Just a couple of hours after a torrential downpour swept through western Sydney in the afternoon, the home side were hit by a Storm outfit that rained on the points in a telling 12-minute period midway though the second half.
Having entered the sheds with a 10-6 lead courtesy of a Will Chambers try on the halftime buzzer, Melbourne opened the floodgates with a 14-point burst that ended in two Penrith players being put on report.
First it was Adam Docker's 50th-minute high shot on Tim Glasby – Docker was responsible for five of his side's eight penalties – that gave the visitors a leg up the field and ended in a Cameron Smith penalty goal in front of the posts.
Then a crusher tackle from Jeremy Latimore on Bryan Norrie in the return set again led the Storm up-field, where five-eighth Ben Roberts produced a wicked left foot step that floored Kevin Kingston and put the Storm in the clear.
A Slater try off a Sisa Waqa line break in the 62nd minute secured the result for a Melbourne side that have now won 13 of their past 14 against the league improvers.
After trading opportunities on each other's line to start the match, it was a 14th-minute brain explosion from Waqa in front of his sticks that handed the hosts a full set of six in prime position.
But Panthers five-eighth Will Smith was even more hospitable, turning a sure-thing in the right corner into an assist for Melbourne winger Marika Koroibete to race 95 metres downfield for the opening points of the match.
On the back of a growing penalty count, Penrith continued to press, but a combination of slippery conditions, poor execution and a familiar Storm front kept them from the breakthrough points they needed – particularly on their left edge.
However when they finally forced a repeat set from an opportunistic Moylan kick off the deck, the in-form fullback then put rookie Dallin Watene-Zelezniak over for a signature winger's try in the corner.
A sideline conversion from Jamie Soward – who piloted three kicks over the same spot to keep Billy Slater at bay – turned momentum back in Penrith's favour.
But a penalty in the final minute of the half gave Melbourne one more shot before the break, and it was the game's best point-man, Cooper Cronk, who put it on a dime for Waqa to bat-back towards Chambers and give his side a 10-6 lead.
A 77th minute try to Idris was of little consolation for a Panthers side who played without hooker James Segeyaro, who missed the game after the passing of his father in Papua New Guinea.
Melbourne 24 (Koroibete, Chambers, Roberts, Slater tries; Smith 4 goals) defeated Penrith 10 (Watene-Zelezniak, Idris tries; Soward goal). Half-time: 10-6. Crowd: 8,994.