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Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm Tips - Panthers to roar into the NRL Grand Final

Last updated: 21 Sep 2023
Jeremy Darke 21 Sep 2023
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  • Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm predictions for Friday’s NRL game
  • Penrith lead the head to head battle against Melbourne
  • Can Melbourne stop Penrith going to the Grand Final for the 4th year in a row?
  • Preview, stats, team news & more
Penrith Panthers, Melbourne Storm, Nathan Cleary
Nathan Cleary will look to lead his team to their 4th NRL Grand Final in a row. (Getty Images)
  • Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm Tips
  • Head to Head 
  • Penrith Panthers Form
  • Penrith Panthers Team News
  • Penrith Panthers Team List
  • Melbourne Storm Form
  • Melbourne Storm Team News
  • Melbourne Storm Team List

Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm Tips

It is no surprise that the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm will face off in a preliminary final in 2023 with many expecting them both to be top-four sides at the start of the season.

The Panthers have been red hot all year and have been the team to beat over the last three years and will be out to give themselves a shot at a three-peat as NRL Premiers. The Storm have been fighting in 2023 to overcome the loss of some big names in the offseason last year and found their season’s best form heading into the NRL Finals. 

The Panthers have outclassed the Storm in their two meetings against each other this season and you can not expect anything but a repeat of the Panthers’ dominance in the prelim. 

Just as the Panthers did against the Warriors in the first week of the finals, they will control the territory and patiently take their chances in attack when they come. 

Their defence will not be overly bothered by the attack of Melbourne and they will win comfortably by a margin of 13+, while Melbourne are not expected to score more than 2 converted tries in the game.

Brian To’o has troubled Melbourne in their 2 games in 2023 scoring in both meetings, which I expect him to do again this week.

  • Penrith have beaten Melbourne by a margin of 13+ in both of their matches in 2023.
  • 5 of the last 6 Penrith victories have been by a margin of 13+
  • Melbourne have scored just 6 points in 3 of their last 5 matches against Penrith.
  • Brian To’o has scored 3 (1+2) tries against Melbourne in 2023.

Head to Head 

Penrith haven’t looked bothered by Melbourne in their two meetings against each other in 2023, beating the Storm in round 18, 34-16 and round 23, 26-6. 

In both wins, Penrith have completely controlled the territory battle playing the game in Melbourne’s half for 57% and 60% of the matches. 

Penrith have also racked up over 20 % more run metres in their matches than Melbourne and in both games had over 15 more tackles in their opposition's 20 metres. 

Penrith Panthers Form

The Panthers enjoyed the week off last week after pulling apart the New Zealand Warriors 32-6, in the first week of the finals at BlueBet Stadium. 

It was a masterclass by Nathan Cleary that stole the show, with the Penrith halfback recording a try, a try assist, two linebreaks and two linebreak assists, and that is just the pretty stats. He also pinned the Warriors in their own end with over 500 kick metres in the match.

The gamebreaker was also the back-five for the Panthers who all ran for over 100 run metres each. They tallied up 743 metres as a group with both Dylan Edwards and Brian To’o running for 185m each in the match.

Penrith Panthers Team News

The Panthers will see the return of Jarome Luai (shoulder) and centre Izack Tago (pectoral) for the preliminary final.

Jack Cogger will move to the bench and Tyrone Peachey has been dropped to 18th man.

Penrith Panthers Team List

1. Dylan Edwards
2. Sunia Turuva
3. Izack Tago
4. Stephen Crichton
5. Brian To'o
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Moses Leota
9. Mitch Kenny
10. James Fisher-Harris
11. Scott Sorensen
12. Liam Martin
13. Isaah Yeo


14. Jack Cogger
15. Lindsay Smith
16. Spencer Leniu
17. Luke Garner


18. Tyrone Peachey
19. Matthew Eisenhuth
20. Zac Hosking
21. Luke Sommerton
22. Tom Jenkins

Melbourne Storm Form

The Storm got away with the narrowest of victories against the Sydney Roosters in Melbourne in the second week of the NRL Finals. 

Melbourne needed every last minute to put Will Warbrick over off a Munster kick to win the match in the dying stages 18-13.

The injection of Harry Grant off the bench turned the game in Melbourne’s favor before halftime. The hooker came on and created opportunities for his teammates with two linebreak assists and a try assists and was a catalyst for a shift in momentum that kept the Storm in the match. 

Melbourne Storm Team News

Jahrome Hughes is a big inclusion for the Storm at halfback, moving Tyran Wishart to the bench after his superb performance against the Roosters.

Xavier Coastes has failed to recover from his ankle injury which leaves Reimis Smith out on the wing and Justin Olam in the centres.

Melbourne Storm Team List

1. Nick Meaney
2. Will Warbrick
3. Marion Seve
4. Justin Olam
5. Reimis Smith
6. Cameron Munster
7. Jahrome Hughes
8. Tui Kamikamica
9. Harry Grant
10. Christian Welch
11. Trent Loiero
12. Eli Katoa
13. Josh King


14. Tyran Wishart
15. Tom Eisenhuth
16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
17. Tariq Sims


18. Grant Anderson
19. Bronson Garlick
20. Sualauvi Faalogo
21. Tepai Moeroa
22. Chris Lewis


Penrith will win comfortably against Melbourne in the first NRL Preliminary Final, constricting the Storm to under 12.5 points and beating them by a margin of 13 or more. Brian To’o will score a try for the third game in a row in 2023 against Melbourne.
Best Bet: Penrith Win Margin 13+ @4/5 at Elitebet - 3 Units
Value Bet: Melbourne Under 12.5 Team Total @10/11 at Puntnow - 2 Units
Tryscoring Tips: Brian To'o Anytime Tryscorer @9/11 at picklebet - 2 Units
Tryscoring Tips: Brian To'o First Tryscorer @7/1 at dabble - 1 Unit
Penrith Win
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Betting Slip | 22 Sep 2023

Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm