South Sydney and Penrith have added another classic chapter to what is fast becoming one of the most entertaining rivalries in the NRL.
While the Rabbitohs fell on the road in front of a packed house to the Panthers, they showed they are right on pace with the benchmark team in the competition in a consuming round four encounter.
It was a gallant display from South Sydney that saw them finish with 15 men after Mark Nicholls went off in just the second set of the game, with Jaxson Paulo also ruled out in the second half after failing a HIA.
Match Highlights: Panthers v Rabbitohs
Ultimately it was untimely errors that cruelled their chances, with Penrith routinely making the visitors pay in the rematch of last year’s grand final.
A first-half completion rate of 61% compared to 90% from the Panthers summed up the frustrations of poor ball control, and 13 errors gifted the home side prime field position throughout the contest, with a number of uncharacteristic errors coming back to bite them in the end.
Penrith's first three tries came off errors or penalties conceded by the Rabbitohs, with an eight-point try in the second half gifting the Panthers a 14-point advantage in the 51st minute.
South Sydney refused to surrender however in what is fast becoming a trademark of their season, hitting back through the dynamic duo of Alex Johnston and Cody Walker to create a contest over the final quarter and keep themselves in with a shot over the closing stages.
It was fiery at times as emotions threatened to spill over on multiple occasions, as the Rabbitohs took the fight to the defending premiers with lethal defence over the course of the 80 minutes.
Taane Milne refused to take a backwards step and produced a number of big hits that rang the bell of his opposing players.
Lachlan Ilias produced one of his finest games in the red and green, controlling the attack and hitting hard in defence, standing up to the traffic Penrith were throwing his way to be one of Souths' standouts.
Latrell Mitchell got through a mountain of work in his own quarter to try and will his team on, while Damien Cook and captain Cameron Murray tackled themselves to a standstill, both cracking the half-century in defence.
The two sides won't meet again until round 23 with the Rabbitohs already circling the date in their calendars to try and snatch a win back in the thrilling rivalry between the two.
The loss takes South Sydney to a 1-3 record for the season through four games, ahead of a showdown with traditional rivals St George Illawarra at Accor Stadium in round five.