Panthers demolish Storm to book NRL Grand Final spot

Penrith's dream of a NRL premiership three-peat is 80 minutes away from becoming a reality after they downed Melbourne 34-8 to book their spot in the Grand Final.

The Panthers are through to their fourth consecutive decider - becoming just the fifth side to do so since Grand Finals became mandatory in 1954 - after crushing a rudderless Storm outfit in front of 35,578 at Accor Stadium.

It would take a brave soul to bet against Ivan Cleary's men repeating the same feat on Sunday week, with the winner of Saturday's preliminary final between Brisbane and the Warriors their opponents.

If that wasn't enough to concern them, livewire five-eighth Jarome Luai was given an early mark after emerging unscathed in his first game back since suffering a dislocated shoulder.

It was a near-perfect night for the Panthers who registered the biggest preliminary final win of the NRL era.

At times on Friday night, they barely got out of second gear and made light work of a Storm side short on power and panache.

Any hope Melbourne had as $5 outsiders relied on them being disciplined and faultless to stop Penrith from getting into their groove.

Their patience lasted a little over two minutes, Marion Seve giving away a penalty which allowed the Panthers to attack and finish their set with Brian To'o going over in the corner.

Justin Olam hit back for the Storm before dropping another with the line beckoning which prompted the first of several skirmishes with Melbourne brute Nelson Asofa-Solomona front and centre of it all.

Asofa-Solomona was happy to throw his weight around and, when he took Nathan Cleary out off the ball in the 15th minute, a further melee kicked off.

Cleary kicked a penalty goal and with Asofa-Solomona hooked by Craig Bellamy soon after, Penrith cut through the Melbourne middle with ease.

It didn't help that as Asofa-Solomona watched on, prowling from the sidelines, his Storm teammates continued to drop balls or give the Panthers piggybacks up the field.

Lock Isaah Yeo, who was a standout for Penrith, guided his side into the right areas with To'o adding a second and Sunia Turuva crossing to give the Panthers an 18-4 lead at halftime.

Melbourne mustered a fight for the early part of the second half but their lack of respect for the ball cost them once more.

Cleary and Dylan Edwards profited, crossing twice in a four-minute salvo to knock the wind out of any Storm fightback.

To'o crossed for his second career hat-trick and Cleary nudged over a penalty late in the game to twist the knife even further and give the Panthers a unique shot at history.

No team has won three back-to-back titles in 40 years, but on the evidence this season there is a every indication Penrith will end that wait.