Penrith Panthers have got their Jersey Flegg premiership defence off to the perfect start, snatching a last-minute victory over the Melbourne Storm at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers trailed 22-8 at half-time, before launching a thrilling comeback to win 28-22.
A slick piece of play saw the Panthers open the scoring in the 8th minute, when Liam Ison beat his man and shifted to Sam Lane to set up Cody Lawson in the right-hand corner.
The Storm hit back shortly after when a strong carry by Joe Chan saw him overpower the Panthers goal line defence.
They struck again in the 22nd minute when Gabriel Satrick grubbered past the defence for Matthew Hill to take a 10-4 lead.
Strong defence by the Panthers saw them force an error to go on the attack immediately after and they were quick to hit back, with Aston Warwick burrowing over from dummy-half to cut the deficit to two.
A penalty for dissent against the Panthers while in possession gave the Storm good field position to launch another attacking raid, with Hill scoring his second in the ensuing set.
The Panthers were reduced to 12 four minutes before half time when the ill-feeling boiled over, with Warwick sent to the sin bin for his role in the scuffle.
Down a man, the Panthers right-hand defence was breached again in the final minutes of the half when Storm fullback Sua Fa’alogo sliced through off a scrum, giving the Storm a 22-8 lead at the break.
After an error-riddled first 15 minutes of the second half, it was the Panthers who were next to score when Blake Moore put on a right-foot step to score under the posts and cut the margin back to eight.
That gave the Panthers the momentum, and back-to-back penalties gave them the field position they needed to score again through Liam Ison.
A towering kick with six minutes to go brought about a Storm error and much needed field position for the Panthers. A penalty for dangerous tackle from the ensuing scrum gave Ryley Smith a shot at goal, which he duly converted to draw level at 22-all.
With time running out, the Panthers opted to bomb again, however knocked on the kick chase. They got the ball back a tackle later though when the Storm made an error coming out of trouble.
With Moore set up for a field goal out the back, the Panthers instead shifted down the blindside to Warwick to dart through a score the match-winner next to the posts with less than two minutes remaining.