Matt Moylan orchestrates a miracle comeback as the Canberra Raiders let another game slip through their hands at Carrington Park.
No lead is safe from Penrith
The Panthers did not need an invitation but when Raiders winger Nick Cotric missed out on a hat-trick opportunity with three minutes left, the home side was given a sniff. After stirring comebacks over the Knights and Warriors in their string of wins prior this season, their two-try effort in the dying stages against Canberra takes the cake and goes to show the importance of time being stopped in the last five minutes of each game.
To rub salt in the wounds for the Raiders, Anthony Griffin's men now leapfrog the green machine on the Telstra Premiership ladder and are into the top eight for the first time this season.
"I actually said in the box if we could get a try here and stop the clock we had some points in us, especially up the middle," Griffin said after the match.
"The players never lost any belief.
"In this competition to string four in a row is a great achievement and we've got the bye now so they can relax and enjoy tonight."
Edwards-Moylan combination thriving
When the Panthers were down and out a month ago something needed to change and while he is constantly viewed as the club's long-term fullback, Moylan's form in the No.6 jersey is something to sit back and admire.
The 25-year-old has now scored six tries in his last five games and more importantly produced three try assists since moving into the pivot role.
And with Moylan in the five-eighth role rookie Dylan Edwards has been thriving at fullback, producing a monster 240-metre performance against the Raiders to back up his solid effort in the Panthers' win over the Bulldogs a week ago.
"He (Edwards) is there because he's obviously got talent and he did a good job at the back under pressure," Griffin said.
"It was obviously a step up from last week after a pretty easy night."
More heartbreak for Raiders
After blowing sides away last season, the Raiders are finding it a tough ask to put their adlib style of rugby league away and grind out victories.
It is now the side's fourth loss of the season by a margin of six points or less.
A dejected Ricky Stuart was not in the mood to discuss the end result post-game and was lost for words.
"We had the opportunity to win it and didn't," Stuart said.
"There is no lack of effort and there never is."
Heated rivalry building
Similar to the rivalry between the Sharks and the Storm night boiling over both on and off the paddock on Thursday night, the Panthers and Raiders are now building some hostility of their own after Canberra knocked Griffin's men out of the finals series last season.
After a frustrating opening half from both sides with fundamental errors killing any momentum, Joseph Tapine and Corey Harawira-Naera were both sent to the sin bin as emotions spilled over forcing both line-ups to come together before the break.
A total of 17 penalties were blown throughout the game as the Panthers and Raiders get set to resume hostilities in Round 24 at GIO Stadium.
"We watched the best game of the year a couple of weeks ago with good flow and only six penalties blown," Griffin said, referring to Origin.
"I don't understand why we have to come back to club level and blow the whistle more."
Bathurst turns it on
With two sides tipped by many to be premiership contenders this season, it was no surprise to see the strong turnout at Carrington Park.
The crowd of 8730 was the second-highest in Bathurst and the Panthers have now won five from six games at the venue.
"We've been here since Wednesday and coming with guys like [Isaah] Yeo and Peach (Tyrone Peachey) who have got a country background is good," Griffin said.
"They really enjoy the week and it means a bit more to them to play well in games like this."