With the scores locked 22-22 and golden point beckoning it was tireless back-rower Liam Martin who surged over from close range to secure the Panthers’ 19th win of the season.
After a ferocious start defensively the Panthers were able to cash in when Stephen Crichton swooped on a scrappy Damien Cook pass and raced 60 metres to score.
The centre converted his own try for a 6-0 lead after just four minutes.
The Rabbitohs then produced some crisp attack and went close to scoring in the right hand corner but Jaxson Paulo was denied by desperation defence by Viliame Kikau and Sean O’Sullivan.
The Panthers No.7 then produced a 40-20 in his team’s next set but they were unable to capitalise and the Rabbitohs rolled straight up the other end and crossed when Alex Johnston finished off slick work from Cody Walker and Isaiah Tass.
An error from Latrell Mitchell in the play-the-ball gave the Panthers field position and Dylan Edwards made the Bunnies pay when he raced 30 metres to score his eighth try of the season.
Both sides then butchered try scoring opportunities – Paulo spilling the ball over the line for Souths before Martin made a mess of a put-down after chasing through a grubber kick.
It was the Rabbitohs who made amends soon after when Mitchell delivered a sublime flick pass to Walker who left Edwards in his wake to score under the posts.
A penalty against Kikau for ruck interference gave the Rabbitohs a chance to level up at 12-12 and that’s how they went to the break.
The second half opened in frenzied fashion with Paulo seeming certain to score when he went for an intercept 20 metres out from Penrith’s line only to spill the ball.
Mitchell then took off from his own end and got to halfway before throwing a high pass to Paulo who couldn’t handle.
The Panthers continued the trend of bombed chances when Martin got over the line again and failed to ground the ball but took the lead 14-12 through a Crichton penalty goal in the 50th minute.
In the 70th minute Johnston continued his remarkable try scoring form when he crossed in the corner courtesy of a majestic pass from Walker and Mitchell slotted the conversion from touch to make it 22-20 to Souths.
The Panthers drew level with four minutes to play when Mitchell dived on the ball in the ruck just out from the Souths line and was ruled to have been inside the 10 metres.
A dropped bomb by Paulo with three minutes to play gave the Panthers a chance to break the deadlock and Martin powered over from close range to wrap up a memorable win.