Three years after their thrilling 26-20 grand final clash, the Storm and Panthers prepare to face off in a preliminary final at Accor Stadium.
It was Melbourne who came out on top in the 2020 decider but it proved to be the game that ignited the Penrith dynasty as the defending champions and minor premiers head to Homebush as hot favourites.
After humbling the Warriors 32-6 in the first week of the play offs, Penrith find themselves well rested and just 80 minutes from creating history as they look to claim a third straight premiership.
Meanwhile, the Storm booked their ticket in the Preliminary Finals — as they have done in their past eight out of nine seasons — with a last gasp victory over the Roosters on Friday.
The Melbourne powerhouse have already ridden the highs and lows of finals footy and will head to Accor battle-hardened after keeping their season alive with a 79th minute try, seven days after a demoralising 26-0 defeat to the Broncos.
Craig Bellamy's side are no strangers to the men from the mountains, having met them on seven occasions since 2020 but it's the Panthers with the wood on Storm having come out on top in five of those matches.
Panthers: The premiers are 1-17 with no late changes. Five-eighth Jarome Luai (shoulder) and centre Izack Tago (pectoral) are both back on deck in a boost for the Panthers. Luai has missed the past two matches after dislocating his shoulder against the Eels in Round 26 but will definitely play after coach Ivan Cleary confirmed the news on Thursday. Jack Cogger and Luke Garner go back to the interchange bench while Zac Hosking goes to the reserves and Tyrone Peachey to 18th Man. Nathan Cleary suffered a finger injury at training on Monday but has been named at halfback and will play.
Storm: Late changes an hour before kick-off with Bronson Garlick to start the game at hooker in jersey No.19 and Harry Grant going to the bench. Nelson Asofa-Solomona will also start, pushing Christian Welch to the bench. Tyran Wishart has dropped back to 18th Man.
Halfback Jahrome Hughes returns from a calf injury but Xavier Coates (ankle) remains sidelined so Reimis Smith retains his spot on the wing. Forward Tui Kamikamica (head knock) has been included in the run-on side.
Match: Panthers v Storm
Finals Week 3 -
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan EdwardsFullback for Storm is number 1 Nick Meaney
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Sunia TuruvaWinger for Storm is number 2 Will Warbrick
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack TagoCentre for Storm is number 3 Marion Seve
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen CrichtonCentre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'oWinger for Storm is number 5 Reimis Smith
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes
Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses LeotaProp for Storm is number 8 Tui Kamikamica
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch KennyHooker for Storm is number 19 Bronson Garlick
Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Storm is number 16 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Scott Sorensen2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Trent Loiero
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Eliesa Katoa
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Storm is number 13 Josh King
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Jack CoggerInterchange for Storm is number 9 Harry Grant
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Lindsay SmithInterchange for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer LeniuInterchange for Storm is number 15 Tom Eisenhuth
Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Luke GarnerInterchange for Storm is number 17 Tariq Sims
Replacement for Panthers is number 18 Tyrone PeacheyReplacement for Storm is number 14 Tyran Wishart
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins
- The Panthers have won their past seven finals matches.
- The Panthers have won four of their past five games against the Storm.
- The Storm have won five of their past six games at Accor Stadium.
- The Storm’s Craig Bellamy will coach his 50th finals game.
- Panthers centre Stephen Crichton has scored four tries in his past five games against the Storm.
- Harry Grant runs from dummy-half more than any other player in the NRL, at an average of 6.6 per game.
Match: Panthers v Storm
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.