The Canberra Raiders Canberra's late dash for an National Rugby Legue finals spot is all but over being pipped by Penrith 26-22.
The Raiders erased a 10-point half-time deficit to lead with eight minutes to go before unlikely Panthers rookie Tyrone May dived over from short range to steal a thrilling win.
Meanwhile Manly's NRL season hangs in the balance after they were beaten 30-16 by Canterbury to continue a slump that dropped them to eighth on the ladder.
The Sea Eagles, who were third a month ago, have now lost four of their past five games and conceded a whopping 170 points along the way.
The Raider defeat ended a four-game winning streak but, more importantly, leaves Ricky Stuart's side four points out of the top eight with two games to go.
They must now win both their matches against Newcastle and Melbourne and rely on either Manly or North Queensland losing both of theirs to quality for September action.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart blamed the defeat on their slow start, but lamented a lost opportunity to move within striking distance of the finals.
"I was really happy with the way we got back into that game, we should never have allowed getting up to that 20-10 (with) so much on the line," Stuart said.
"The first 25 minutes of the game let us down. If we had of played the first 25 minutes of the game the way we played the remainder of it (we're) probably not in this position."
For the Panthers, their seventh straight victory all but cements their finals spot and also keeps them in the hunt for a charge at the top four.
Not since their 2003 premiership triumph have the Panthers recorded seven wins on the trot.
Panthers coach Anthony Griffin hailed their performance as one of the best of the season.
"We had a chance to win it today in our own right, and then we had to win it again when they surged at us," he said.
"That's hard to do at this time of the year - win tight games of football twice. We'll take a lot of confidence out of that."