Panthers stun Roosters with drop goal winner

Panthers stun Roosters with drop goal winner

The Penrith Panthers turned Australia`s National Rugby League title race upside down with a last-gasp qualifying win over defending champions, the Sydney Roosters, on Saturday.

A Jamie Soward drop goal with less than 10 seconds left earned the Panthers an extraordinary 19-18 victory after the title favourites had looked to have snatched the match just moments earlier.

A 74th-minute try to scrum-half Mitchell Pearce and conversion to stand-off James Maloney had given the Roosters an 18-12 lead.

But the Panthers struck back with three minutes remaining with a spectacular try to centre Dean Whare and then Soward`s sideline leveller.

The amazing victory has left the Panthers just one win away from a fairytale grand final appearance, while the Roosters now face a sudden-death showdown with Johnathan Thurston`s resurgent North Queensland.

The North Queensland Cowboys ousted Brisbane 32-20 in their elimination final in Townsville on Saturday.

The Cowboys led 24-0 at halftime lead before finally putting away their Queensland rivals in front of a 25,000-strong home crowd to stake a serious claim as NRL title threats.

South Sydney stormed into title contention with a 40-24 hammering of long-time rivals Manly Sea Eagles in Friday`s qualifying final.

The Rabbitohs dominated every facet of the match, powering to a 40-0 lead after 56 minutes before easing off for Manly to grab four late converted tries.