Picture: Max Mason-HubersPENRITH were a minute away from securing their place in the top four.
Now after a heartbreaking 26-25 loss to Manly they are potentially 80 minutes from finishing seventh.
In a cruel twist of fate, the Panthers’ second loss in a row has ended their faint minor premiership hopes and placed their top-four spot in jeopardy.
The good news is they have their destiny in their own hands.
A win against the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday will see them finish fourth and face a potential rematch with Manly.
A loss leaves them open to a potential sudden-death clash in Melbourne or North Queensland.
The good news is they should have the services of James Segeyaro, who missed the past fortnight after the death of his father.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said he was proud of the performance despite his side allowing two tries in the final five minutes.
“Obviously it is a disappointing result but there are still a lot of positives to take out of the game. The reality is if win the game next week, we have destiny in our own hands.”
For Parramatta, their 42-12 capitulation at the hands of Newcastle has taken their finals destiny out of their own hands. The Eels are 10th heading into the final round of the competition and must defeat the Raiders on Saturday and rely on Brisbane and the Warriors losing to Melbourne and Penrith, respectively.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said their season wasn’t over, despite the loss.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re certainly not done,” he said.
Round 26 NRL
■Parramatta v Canberra, Saturday, 5.30pm, GIO Stadium
■Penrith v Warriors, Sunday, 6.30pm, Sportingbet Stadium
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