James Maloney and Nathan Cleary have used Penrith's take-down of St George Illawarra to make a final, impressive case for NSW State of Origin selection.
In front of the biggest Panthers Stadium crowd in eight years, the Penrith halves orchestrated a resounding 28-2 win on Saturday night to leapfrog the Dragons to top spot on percentages.
And while NSW coach Brad Fittler may have been impressed with his playmaking candidates, Queensland counterpart Kevin Walters could be feeling ill after Ben Hunt failed to finish the match.
However, Fittler could have an injury problem of his own after Dragons hopeful Jack de Belin collapsed on the sidelines late with a suspected occurrence of the hip injury he's carried for the past three weeks.
Hunt left the field early in the second half with a corked thigh and the visitors' hopes went with him as they fell to arguably their worst effort of the year and their second defeat in three weeks.
Cleary scored a sensational solo try off a Maloney pass in the first half and then made the most of a Maloney linebreak to put winger Christian Crichton over midway through the second.
The duo then combined to put powerhouse second-rower Viliame Kikau over in the 70th minute before Reagan Campbell-Gillard completed the rout in the final minute.
It was a tensely fought battle from the start as both sides showed why they are the best two defensive teams in the competition by turning away numerous raids on their goal line.
It wasn't until de Belin was penalised for a flop in the 22nd minute that Maloney potted over first points.
The minor breakthrough turned major for the home side when Tyrone Peachey found space on the left edge and Cleary beat four defenders one play later for an eight-point halftime lead.
Panthers fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was also outstanding for the hosts, carrying the ball for a game-high 201 metres.
Panthers coach Anthony Griffin described their performance as their best of the season so far.
"I just liked the way our whole team handled the occasion. It was a big game and we'd been building up nicely over the last few weeks," he said.
"Obviously there was a lot of good things in attack and defence in the game but just our energy and our desire to keep coming at that type of game, I thought it was really good."
Dragons coach Paul McGregor admitted his team were simply outplayed after halftime.
"They were very much more dominant, their line speed was good, they were more physical than we were, they dominated field position," he said.
"The halves played over the advantage line, engaged the line well and were just too good on the night."