Storm down ill-disciplined Panthers
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.
How a post-Origin pow wow revived Storm's season
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
Relive our live match commentary
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.