Penrith have recovered from an early 12-2 deficit to end the Warriors’ season in the elimination final at ANZ Stadium.
The Panthers scored 25 unanswered points to run out deserving 27-12 winners.
The Warriors scored the first two tries of the match. The first was scored by hooker Issac Luke after he burrowed his way over from dummy half to score beside the posts in the 9th minute.
They were in again six minutes later when they ran the ball on the short side and some quick offloads put prolific winger David Fusitu’a over in the corner.
But the Panthers hit back in the 20th minute when centre Tyrone Peachey pounced on a Nathan Cleary grubber kick just before the dead ball line.
In the 24th minute, Penrith hit the front when fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak busted the Warriors up the middle before putting skipper James Maloney over under the posts.
The Warriors lost captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck soon after with a medial ligament strain that ended his night.
Peachey scored his second try in the 29th minute after the Panthers created an overlap running it on the last. That made it 18-12, and the score stayed that way until half-time.
Penrith then dominated possession early in the second half to lay the platform for their win. Maloney recovered from a heavy tackle from Issac Luke to frustrate the Warriors with his kicking game, along with halves partner Nathan Cleary.
The Warriors defence eventually cracked in the 51st minute after five consecutive attacking sets from the Panthers, with winger Christian Crichton crossing in the corner.
That was the only try of the half, with a Maloney field goal and a Cleary penalty goal the only other points.
The Warriors tried hard, but it was a well-deserved Penrith win. But the big question is whether they can string two or three good September performances together in a row after their inconsistent displays this season.