NSW's gain proved Penrith's pain after dumped Queensland big man David Taylor terrorised the Panthers in South Sydney's 38-12 win at ANZ Stadium.
Dropped for the State of Origin decider after a pair of quiet games earlier in the series, Taylor was in the thick of everything for the Rabbitohs as he brushed off Panthers defenders with punishing regularity to keep the Bunnies within sight of the NRL top four.
He finished with 131 metres from 14 runs, one try, a clever try assist and a desperate tackle to deny Josh Mansour a try with his side clinging to a 14-12 lead early in the second half.
The Rabbitohs capitalised on the play with tries to Andrew Everingham - off a delightful Taylor cut-out pass - and a double to Nathan Peats seeing off a Penrith side that did well to stay in the contest as long as they did considering the quality on their list of absentees.
Nathan Merritt completed the second half carnage with his second of the afternoon two minutes from time.
Taylor scored on 17 minutes after halfback Adam Reynolds had created an opportunity with a clever run, but it was all Taylor five minutes later as three defenders failed to contain him as his offload eventually resulted in Merritt scoring out wide.
Sam Burgess, making an unexpected return from a knee injury, dropped the ball over the line as the Rabbitohs attempted to step on the throat, the let off costly as Clint Newton barged over for Penrith a minute later.
The Panthers drew level as Lachlan Coote acrobatically tipped and then reeled in a Travis Burns kick to touch down beside the post, but that was the end of the joy for the visitors.
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