The Panthers are pipped at the post again as a late try sees the Titans claim a 28-24 victory at Pepper Stadium on Sunday.
In what seems to becoming a tradition for the Panthers of 2016, the game went down to the wire with the home side taking the lead in the 69th minute, only to have it levelled in the 75th, and stolen in the 77th. The disspointing end was in stark contrast to the exciting beginning for the Panthers.
The good start came in the 7th minute when Peter Wallace went for a forty-twenty coming out of dummy half. With the ball looking to have gone over the sideline, Titans fullback William Zillman batted the ball back-in-play only for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to dive on the ball and slide over the tryline. With Sowards conversion, the Panthers went to an early 6-0 lead.
Penrith were quick to invite the visitors back into the game, giving away two penatlies inside their own half within short succession.
The Titans took advantage following the second penatly with a short pass close to the line allowing Greg Bird to fight his way through the defence to plant the ball down with an outstretched arm. Tyrone Roberts's easy kick levelled the scores at 6-all.
Penrith were awarded a penalty 10 metres out and right in front of the posts in the 21st minute, but they opted to take the quick tap.
After testing their plays out, the ball ended up with Isaah Yeo who put through a grubber kick to earn a repeat set. However, the Titans defense was proving resillient until last week's hatrick-hero Tyrone Peachey found a hole to grab his 5th try of the season. Another two points hit the scoreboard when Soward's conversion was successful.
Peachey was in the thick of it again leaping for a ball which looked to have secured a Josh Mansour try, but the ball was ruled to have gone forward off the Penrith utility who was playing at centre.
Another try went begging just minutes later when James Segeyaro failed to put the ball down despite scouraging in under the crossbar.
With Penrith on the attatck in the final ten minutes of the half, five-eigth Jamie Soward was forced from the field after taking a heavy hit from the Titans defence. But moments later at the other end of the field, Titans enforcer Greg Bird took a hit of his own when Suaia Matagi arrived late.
Bird went up the tunnel for tests while the rest of his team continued to go on the attatck. A run from Agnatuius Paasi in the 37th minunte saw him crash over the tryline in the perfect spot right under the the black dot. The conversion from Roberts again brought it back to level-pegging at 12-all just before the halftime.
Halftime: Panthers 12 Titans 12
A double knock-on inside the Titans end of the field gave Penrith first attacking use of the football, but a knee injury to Peta Hiku in the 43rd minute stalled their progress. Hiku left the field on a stretcher and would not return for the rest of the match.
It was proving to be a day full of injuries when Titans five-eighth Tyrone Roberts left the field in the 46th minute, forcing both sides to adjust and cover key positions.
Penrith recieved a penalty in the 51st minute and decided to play it safe, with Soward taking the penalty and putting the home-side out to a 14-12 lead.
A stunning try to Josh Mansour in the 57th minute saw him catch the ball in his oustretched left hand, before he placed it down with his right while diving over the line in the corner.
Fellow Origin hopeful Matt Moylan provided the try-assist with a one-handed bat-on of the ball across to Mansour. The angle proved too much for Soward and the scores remained at 18-12.
The Panthers hekld a six-point lead, but when Titans-debutant Nathan Peats burrowed his way over the line from dummy half in the 63rd minute, the game looked sure to be headed for a typical 2016 Panthers close finish. Ash Taylor's conversion made it 18-all with 15 minutes left to play.
A towering bomb from the Titans in the 67th minute saw a four-man leap for the ball result in Titans centre Nathan Davis falling over the tryline. Despite being ruled a try by the on-field referees, replays showed Davis actually dropped the ball and the decison was reversed by the bunker.
With the Panthers counting their blessings, they got straight back on the march and when they reached the other end of the field some quick and shifty play allowed Lelani Latu to stroll over untouched for his first Panthers' try. Soward extended the lead to 24-18 with eight minutse left on the clock.
Matt Moylan dropped a crucial bomb in the 74th minute handing possession back to the Titans and three plays later Ash Taylor sold a dummy to the Panthers, cutting through the line to cross for a try. Staring into the sun, Taylor converted his own try to make it 24-all.
With the game on the line an error from the Titans gave Penrith a chance to break the deadlock with three to go. Peter Wallace lined up a field goal but couldn't get a shot away. He passed to Tyrone Peachey who dropped the ball and failed to hold onto it. It allowed the Titans to take off down field and after one tackle they went all the way with Anthony Don crossing within a whisker in the corner.
The conversion from Taylor was off the mark and from the kick-off the Titans held the ball until the final whistle, finishing the game 28-24 winners.
Fulltime: Panthers 24 Titans 28