Ivan Cleary said his Panthers had every right to throw in the towel when hit by a glut of rogue refereeing calls in their gutsy 19-18 NRL win over the Warriors.
Rookie centre Brent Naden scored two memorable tries and the irrepressible James Maloney had the final say with a golden point field goal to cap a dramatic game at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
Penrith overcame two contentious sin bin rulings either side of halftime and a 10-point deficit to notch their fifth straight win.
Naden was the hero in just his fourth NRL game, crossing twice in the final half hour, including a stunner near the death when he stepped inside Patrick Herbert 90-metres out, swerved around Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and beat the cover defence for pace to help put his team 18-16 ahead.
Herbert atoned somewhat with a match-levelling 35m penalty in the final minute, but the Panthers wouldn't be denied.
A week after his influential State of Origin performance for NSW and without injured halves partner Nathan Cleary, Maloney nailed the winning field goal, after he and opposite Blake Green had both missed earlier attempts.
Maloney also laid on two of his team's three tries, setting up a leaping Naden with a pinpoint bomb to start the fightback from 16-6 down.
The Warriors appeared destined to end their miserable run of home form when David Fusitu'a crossed after a fuming Penrith had been reduced to 11 players.
Replays showed Fusitua's try shouldn't have been awarded, adding to salt to an already festering Panthers wound.
Maloney, who had a running battle with referee Gerard Sutton, was firstly enraged there was no sin bin warning in the lead-up to Liam Martin's 10-minute punishment for repeated Panthers offending.
The second sin bin ruling was close to howler territory.
Jarome Luai was deemed to have committed a professional foul for tripping Tuivasa-Sheck, even though the contact appeared accidental and the Warriors captain had already knocked on in the lead-up.
Ivan Cleary was ecstatic with how his team hung tough following two rulings he said could easily have swung the match.
"It was a big call, then followed by another big call (Fusitu'a's try). We were definitely under the pump there," he said.
"You can feel sorry for yourself, blame everyone else and then pack it in for the night. But we didn't do that, we just kept fighting and somehow won the game."
Warriors opposite Stephen Kearney's night became worse after fulltime when medical staff revealed Nathaniel Roache had probably ruptured his ACL, ending the injury-prone hooker's season.
Defeat was hard to take for Kearney, whose team have lost five in a row in Auckland.
"We got a reminder that when the moment presents itself for you, you have to get it done," he said.
"At the back end there, we had a couple of fellas who didn't do it, in terms of a missed tackle (by Herbert)."