James Maloney has cemented his status as an NRL finals specialist after leading Penrith to a decisive 27-12 win over the Warriors and book a spot in next week's NRL semifinals.
Maloney was at the forefront as the Panthers took full advantage of a first half injury to Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on Saturday -- a setback his teammates could not overcome.
The Warriors were down by two when fullback Tuivasa-Sheck was assisted from the field on the half-hour mark after suffering a suspected medial ligament injury.
Panthers centre Tyrone Peachey nabbed his second try a minute later and from then on Penrith were on track for their third straight semifinal appearance.
They now play the Sharks, who were beaten 21-12 by the Sydney Roosters in their qualifying final.
While Tuivasa-Sheck's exit effectively ended any hope of the Warriors' first foray in the finals since 2011, it was Maloney who stepped up when it mattered for the Panthers.
The two-time premiership-winner, who has played in the eight of the past nine finals series, showed all his experience to the 17,168 crowd at ANZ Stadium.
"He knows what to do in each moment so it's like having another coach out there," said Panthers coach Cameron Ciraldo.
"I thought the whole week he's shown some really good leadership qualities.
"I felt that a couple of weeks ago you could see his intensity go up, he really rallies the troops. He's born for this time of the year and we're really lucky to have him on our side."
The Warriors had raced to a 12-2 lead inside 14 minutes courtesy of tries to Issac Luke and David Fusitu'a, who equalled Francis Meli's club record of 23 tries in a single season.
His team under the pump, it was Maloney's attempted 40-20 that resulted in Peachey crossing not long after.
Maloney made it two tries in three minutes when Luke's kick-off went out on the full.
Tuivasa-Sheck's injury then tilted momentum heavily in the Panthers' favour, and it showed on the scoreboard as Peachey got his second moments after the Warrior's departure.
Panthers winger Christian Crichton made it a two-try lead not long after halftime, and with the Warriors' spirits dwindling, Maloney put the nail in the coffin with a 60th minute field goal.
In contrast, Warriors star Shaun Johnson was noticeably quiet, while the defeat also marked a subdued end to veteran Simon Mannering's 301-game career.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney lamented Tuivasa-Sheck's injury, while fundamental errors also allowed Penrith to pile on 25 unanswered points.
"When Roger came off there was a bit of a lull I thought in our energy, so that didn't help and we just didn't find any momentum in that second half," he said.