Melbourne Storm's defence was stretched and so was their luck but they remain the only undefeated side in the NRL after a compelling contest with Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.
The Storm gave the Panthers more than enough chances win the game with a litany of passing, handling and defensive errors but Melbourne's tackling on their tryline held solid in a 28-6 win at AAMI Park in front of 15,223 supporters.
Ingenious catches, last minute tries and spectacular goals, these are the plays of the week.
After a returning Suliasi Vunivalu and Will Chambers gave the Storm an early lead, the Storm's six second half penalties plus 13 errors for the game made sure the Panthers kept them pinned to their defensive line for long passages.
Yet the Storm held their line and exhausted the Panthers' creativity before another breakaway try from Josh Addo-Carr sealed the win with nine minutes to play to leave them the only undefeated side in the NRL ahead of next Sunday's grand final rematch against Cronulla Sharks in Melbourne.
The Storm's tackle count was hit by 47 "missed" tackles but that number was boosted by the Panthers' free-form attack which drifted across the pitch or even backwards to keep the ball alive.
The Storm dominated possession in the opening minutes but couldn't find the killer pass until Cronk burst to the right and threw a cutout pass to Chambers who then threw a one-handed toss to Vunivalu for a try in the corner on nine minutes.
They had to wait another 10 minutes but the Storm's reunited right side again put points on the board when Billy Slater and Cronk combined to push it to the right where this time Chambers saw the hole and ran through to score the second try with Smith's conversion making it 10-0.
Penrith awoke from their attacking slumber putting together some repeat possessions to work deep into the Storm's half before Te Maire Martin broke through three Storm tackles diving over to score his side's first try.
Nathan Cleary converted to cut the lead to 10-6 after 28 minutes.
Chambers and Vunivalu almost scored right on the halftime siren but Chambers' tricky dump off was fumbled by the Fijian winger leaving scores 10-6 at the break.
Whatever message the Storm received at halftime worked a treat as Dale Finucane broke the line and offloaded for Cronk on the opening set with the halfback sprinting under the posts from 30-metres out to take the lead to 16-6 after the conversion.
Viliame Kikau could have scored for the Panthers on their next play but as he stretched for the try line Smith managed to force him to lose the ball.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy blasted his side for its high error rate during the week but three turnovers in the first nine minutes of the second half gave the visitors every chance to close the gap but they couldn't find the line.
For all the Storm's errors they kept the Panthers from scoring then in a rare foray up the field drew a penalty 25-metres from the goal with Smith slotting a penalty kick to extend the lead to 18-6 at the hour mark.
Panthers winger Dean Whare looked to have scored in the right corner on 66 minutes but it was wiped off by the video review bunker due to a knock on earlier in the play.
More Storm errors gave Martin a chance for his second try but he also lost the ball while reaching for the line with 10 minutes to play.
Moments later Addo-Carr broke three tackles down the right sideline running 80-metres for the game-sealing try, it was his second breakaway score in successive weeks while Smith's conversion made it 24-6 with seven minutes to play.
Vunivalu scored a second try just before the siren after a break from Slater and Addo-Carr.
Mark Nicholls and Tui Kamikamica made their Storm debuts.
The Storm host Cronulla Sharks this coming Sunday at 4pm.