The Penrith Panthers have held on for a nervy 13-12 win over the Parramatta Eels in a Friday night thriller at BlueBet Stadium.
It was Matt Burton who stepped up to put the Panthers in front late, sneaking in the field goal in the 78th minute to seemingly seal the win.
There was a final twist though.
Liam Martin was ruled to have obstructed Waqa Blake off the restart and it handed the Eels a penalty kick to steal the two points on the siren.
Mitchell Moses was unable to kick it though, with the ball drifting to the left of the posts as Penrith took bragging rights in the battle of the west.
It was an arm wrestle for the majority of the game as Penrith struggled to gain ascendancy early after an error-riddled start.
The Panthers were made to pay for it when Maika Sivo went over in the corner to open the scoring.
Fluency in attack continued to prove the biggest issue for Penrith early but the Panthers pounced with one of their first opportunities on the Parramatta line.
It was Tyrone May who was the spark, taking the line on and going through as Stephen Crichton slotted the goal to give Penrith a 6-4 lead.
May does it all himself for Penrith
In testing conditions that led to plenty of errors the metreage from wingers Brian To’o (122) and Brent Naden (163) proved crucial in helping the Panthers regain ascendancy.
Both would end up combining for over 500 run metres – a big advantage in testing conditions.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 6 - Eels 4
The Eels though made a quick start after the break as Charlie Staines was caught out of position off a bomb, with Isaiah Papali’i picking up the scraps to score.
Apisai Koroisau though hit back soon after for the Panthers with a moment of individual brilliance as he spotted a hole and sliced through, with Crichton again converting to re-establish the two-point lead.
Api crosses for his first four-pointer of the year
Koroisau was at his scheming best in the win, constantly threatening out of dummy-half.
A penalty for a strip against Spencer Leniu though saw the Eels lock it up at 12-all.
Viliame Kikau seemed destined to score Penrith’s third off a short ball from Koroisau only to just be held up as Parramatta proved tough to crack in defence.
The Eels continued to press hard through the middle and showed few signs of letting up until a forward pass from Clint Gutherson gifted the Panthers the ball in prime field position.
Burton’s first attempt at field goal hit the post but he made sure to redeem himself later with the match-winner as the Panthers emerged victorious.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 13 - Eels 12
Burton slots match-winning field goal