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Kikau power, Cleary poise get Panthers home over Storm

Giant Panthers back-rower Viliame Kikau fought off injury to score the match-winner in his side's 21-14 triumph over Melbourne on Friday night.

The Panthers - who surrendered a 10-point lead before losing to the Eels last week - found themselves in the same position a week later at Campbelltown Stadium.

Last week they were unable to claw their way out of the hole they found themselves in. On this occasion, they did just that. 

Kikau's solo effort in the 63rd minute to field a Cleary kick on the full edged the Panthers ahead by a converted try before the halfback nailed a field goal late in the game to hand the Storm their second loss of the season.

"It's a great effort to beat Melbourne at any time so we're pretty happy," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said. 

"Viliame's a pretty special physical specimen - especially when you're 118 kilos and can do what he can do.

"I just think his intensity when he's been out on the field has really improved over the past three weeks.

"He looked a bit fatigued at various stages but it was good to bring him back on."

Cleary tested Marion Seve in the sky early with the late inclusion failing his first assignment to spill a mid-field bomb and put the visitors under pressure.

Penrith struck first shortly after the Seve error when Jarome Luai sent Josh Mansour into space down the left edge before the veteran winger found Stephen Crichton in support.

A six-again call gave Melbourne a rare opportunity to attack Penrith's line in the opening half and Cameron Munster took advantage to provide a cut-out pass for Felise Kaufusi to score.

Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards made his return from a hamstring injury a success by sending Brian To'o over the line with the Panthers' right edge creating a healthy overlap in an uncharacteristic Storm defensive line.

Cleary and Kikau combination get Panthers back in front

In a week where Cameron Smith's gamesmanship was questioned, the Storm skipper knocked back the opportunity to challenge a call against him that enabled the Panthers to go two ahead via a penalty goal late in the first half.

Smith then pulled the trigger after half-time with his first challenge of the season, only to be denied by the NRL Bunker.

Brian To'o (Panthers) and Brenko Lee (Storm) traded tries inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half to set up a thrilling finish.

An error from Mansour gifted the visitors a scoreboard leveller with a play-the-ball infringement. Smith then levelled the scores set the stage for Cleary and Kikau to send their team to victory.

Kikau's ability to commit to Cleary's kick proved the difference, delivering the Panthers just their third victory over Melbourne since 2006.

"I thought we started the game well and we're making a habit of that which is really good," Cleary said.

"It had a lot of similarities to last week when it came to the second half with the ebbs and flows and being a young team in the NRL, one of the [toughest] things is the second half is one of the hardest [time periods] to master.

"I thought we handled that better this week and backing up last week's disappointment is a good sign."

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.