Penrith coach Cameron Ciraldo may have experienced his first Telstra Premiership finals match just five games into his coaching career, but the Panthers were far more in cruise control as they overcome a 10-point deficit to beat the Warriors 27-12 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
The Panthers ran in 25-unanswered points to end the Warriors' season and keep their premiership hopes alive for at least another week, the experience of playing finals football in the last three years shining through with the developing squad.
Penrith now face Cronulla next Friday night at Allianz Stadium.
Ciraldo was quick to cut any celebrations post-game, though acknowledged the side had picked up where they left off after last week's win over Melbourne.
"We've got to get through next week first and that's going to be a tough game," Ciraldo said.
"It's going to have to take a big effort. We're going to have to be better than tonight.
"We don't think too far ahead, I just said to the boys we need to recover from this and get ready for the next game because it's going to be a huge game.
Match Highlights: Panthers v Warriors – Finals Week 1, 2018
"There's no point talking three weeks ahead if we don't get through next week."
Experienced playmaker James Maloney orchestrated another match-winning performance with his controlled game management on point, capped off with a field goal with 20 minutes remaining, just moments after Eels great Peter Sterling predicted in commentary the NSW playmaker will identify the importance of a 13-point lead.
"Really valuable [having him], his experience out there, he can probably answer that better than I can but you just know he knows what to do in each moment," Ciraldo said.
"It's like having another coach out there. I thought just the whole week he's shown some leadership qualities.
"You could see his intensity go up, he really rallies the troops. He's born for this time of the year and we're lucky we've got him on our side."
Penrith looked to have fixed their discipline issues earlier in the week and were able to play a free-flowing game under lights.
The Warriors lost fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to a knee injury and struggled to break Penrith's defensive line after jumping to a 12-2 lead early.
"It was a controlled second half," Ciraldo said.
"I thought our goal line defence was really strong when it had to be. I thought there was patience from our halves that we held the ball down there on their try-line, we didn't get rattled.
"That's semi-final footy to be patient down there and I thought we did that really well. It was good to win, I thought good about it because of how the boys prepared and the energy around them today and in the warm-up."