Manly have snatched a thrilling 26-25 win over Penrith with a 79th-minute try to Tom Symonds in one of the NRL games of the year.
With the clock winding down after Penrith had led all game, the Sea Eagles threw it wide for Symonds to score with 68 seconds left on the clock before a jubilant home crowd of 18,654 at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.
That came after skipper Jamie Lyon had crossed just two minute earlier to give the Sea Eagles a glimmer of hope.
Symonds’ second try – after Lyon batted down a Kieran Foran kick – sealed the dramatic victory to send Manly back to the top of the ladder.
The unlucky Panthers will have to beat the Warriors at Penrith next week in the final round to be assured of a top-four finish.
Penrith opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Nigel Plum crashed over from close range for his first try of the year with young rake Kierran Moseley throwing the final pass on his NRL debut.
Josh Mansour then added to that when he scored out wide five minutes later after Matt Moylan tapped on beautifully to create a 10-0 lead.
The roll of penalties then went Manly’s way and they took advantage when Jamie Buhrer scored a converted try after a half break from Kieran Foran in the 17th minute.
Lyon then threw the first of two intercept passes that resulted in tries when Jamal Idris scooped up the Steeden and ran 20m to score in the 27th minute.
With another Soward conversion the Panthers led 16-6 and that is the way things stayed until halftime.
Lyon then threw another wayward pass to Soward to swoop and run 80m with the Manly captain chasing in vain.
The Sea Eagles finally wound up for Symonds to crash over in the 55th minute and then for James Hasson to do likewise in the 64th minute as Manly moved to within six points, with Soward adding a penalty goal for the visitors in the 60th minute.
Moylan then calmly slotted a one-pointer in the 72nd minute before Brett Stewart created a try for Lyon out wide to set up a grandstand finish in Jason King’s final home game at the club after announcing his retirement this week.