Cameron Smith is used to bamboozling opposition defences, but this time fans were left scratching their heads while watching the on-field action.

The Melbourne hooker helped pilot his side to a Grand Final appearance as the Storm downed Canberra 14-12 on Saturday night in the Victorian capital - the perfect way to celebrate halfback Cooper Cronk's 300th NRL game.

So often in finals footy it's the small things that matter most - the "one percenters" as players and coaches love to call them - and Melbourne are lucky a minor detail didn't cost them a spot in next week's decider.

Leading 8-6 just shy of the hour mark courtesy of a converted try and a penalty goal, the home side crossed again through centre Cheyse Blair. Close to the line, pivot Blake Green shifted the ball to fullback Cameron Munster, who passed to Blair, and the 24-year-old ran the perfect line through a hole to score a four-pointer.


He did what every thinking player does when he crossed the stripe - ran back towards the posts to make the conversion attempt easier for his kicker Smith. But when the rake set the Steeden on the tee, fans noticed he was a lot wider out than where the try was actually scored.

Blair accidentally bumped into the referee in the in-goal area before continuing closer to the sticks, and there was a suggestion the conversion may have been taken in line with where that contact was made instead of where the ball was finally grounded. However, it's highly unlikely that was the case.

Fortunately, Smith potted a penalty goal soon after to extend the lead to eight, which was just enough of a buffer after Aidan Sezer converted Elliott Whitehead's try with just a few minutes remaining, reducing the final winning margin to two.

Had Melbourne not scored four points from penalty goals and Smith's missed conversion from out wide cost them the game, questions would no doubt have been asked about why he kicked from the difficult position he did.

But in the end it didn't matter as Melbourne ended the Raiders' dream run in 2016.

The men in purple will play Cronulla - who have never won a premiership - in next Sunday's Grand Final. The Sharks will be the overwhelming crowd favourites, but that doesn't faze Smith.

"I don't think we've played a final in Sydney when anyone's been going for us," Smith said. "That's sport and that's part of the game and we've done it all year.

"We've played 13 games away this year and we haven't had too many people there supporting us but I'm sure we'll have some purple in the crowd.

"At the end of the day, the crowd isn't going to have an influence on the game, for us it's there to be won and we can control what we do."

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy watched the Sharks roll North Queensland 32-20 to win through to the big dance, taking note of playmaker James Maloney, who scored two tries and kicked six from seven goals.

But Bellamy said he wouldn't take too much from the Sharks' performance against the Cowboys, preferring to concentrate on their own meeting in Round 26 when the Storm beat Cronulla to win the minor premiership.

"We played them only a couple of weeks ago, so we will probably go back to what we saw there, and our games before that, as far as what we're going to go with for a game plan," Bellamy said.

"You know they've got real quality halves - Jim Maloney was outstanding - and they've got a tough pack of forwards and some really quick, strong outside backs, so they've got a really good balance."

- AAP/