Penrith Panthers have suffered an 18-16 loss the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the first of three matches at BlueBet Stadium on Friday.
The away side scored four tries to three to inflict the Panthers with their second loss in as many weeks.
The Rabbitohs were first to find the line with Josiah Karapani slicing through on the right edge, but the conversion was waved away to keep the score at 4-0 after 14 minutes.
The Panthers, however, hit back moments late when fullback Isaiah Ilongi created some space with a determined run to score, before Connor Mason added the extras for a two-point lead.
South Sydney regained their advantage after Zane Bijorac finished off a slick movement towards the right, giving his side an 8-6 lead at half-time.
HALF-TIME: RABBITOHS 8 – PANTHERS 6
The away side extended their lead moments after the break when Chaise Spyroulias attacked the short side to score, however the conversion was missed for the third-consecutive attempt.
Scores were locked at 12-all when Panthers centre Kristian Li Mai crossed out wide and William Fakatoumafi nailed the conversion.
Just as the home side was gaining momentum, the Rabbitohs hit back to regain the lead through a Romano Cook try, and the tryscorer landed his first conversion of the game for an 18-12 lead.
When Panthers fullback Iongi scored with less than a minute left of the clock, it gave Mason a chance to give his side a draw with the conversion, however the attempt sailed wide.
The Jersey Flegg Panthers will now turn their attention to next Saturday’s match against the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground.
FULL-TIME: RABBITOHS 18 - PANTHERS 16