The Penrith Panthers have held off a late finishing St. George Illawarra outfit to reclaim top spot on the NRL ladder with an 18-14 victory at Sportingbet Stadium in front of 13,768.
The Panthers jumped to a 12-0 lead mid-way through the opening half as Dean Whare finished off right-side raids which featured Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace.
Gareth Widdop and Adam Quinlan troubled the defence and the hands of the Dragons fullback saw Charly Runciman post points in the final minutes before the break. After 40 minutes, the hosts took a 12-4 lead into half time.
Jason Nightingale swept across the back of the attacking line and again via of Quinlan the Dragons closed the gap to just two points, 12-10.
Jamie Soward is known as the fastest man of 40 metres and his footwork crafted the Panthers third try as he provided space for Josh Mansour to cross untouched. Penrith regained their 8 point lead as the game approached the three-quarter mark.
There was a flicker of hope for the Red V faithful as Jason Nightingale flew down the eastern sideline in the final two minutes. However it wasn't to be as the clock wound down before they could cross the line to steal victory.
Next week the Panthers enjoy a week off with a bye, while the Dragons head to the Gold Coast to clash with the Titans on Sunday afternoon.