Joe Stimson's late try snatched a 16-13 victory over Sydney Roosters which all but wrapped up the minor premiership for Melbourne Storm, while Penrith Panthers are up to sixth in the NRL after fighting back to beat North Queensland Cowboys.
A Luke Keary drop goal seven minutes from time put the third-placed Roosters in front for the first time in a pulsating contest at AAMI Park, but there was a final twist.
Second row Stimson proved to be the Storm's match-winner, crashing over with only three minutes remaining after passing a concussion test to put the leaders six points clear with only three rounds to play.
Melbourne started with gusto, scoring 10 points without reply courtesy of a controversial penalty try, awarded when Latrell Mitchell impeded Suliasi Vunivalu as he chased Cooper Cronk's kick, and six points from the boot of Cameron Smith.
Keary dotted down for a converted try 10 minutes prior to the interval and the Roosters were level midway through the second half when Mitchell Aubusson crashed his way over, Mitchell adding the extras following a Smith penalty.
Five-eighth Keary showed great composure to send a drop goal sailing through the posts in a tense finale, but it was Stimson who had the final say, taking a pass from Cronk to power his way over.
Nathan Cleary was in-form Penrith's match-winner at Pepper Stadium, scoring a second-half double and landing four conversions as they beat the injury-hit Cowboys 24-16.
North Queensland led 16-6 in the second half courtesy of four-pointers from Kane Linnett, Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo, but Clearly struck twice either side from a try from former Cowboy James Tamou as the Panthers stretched their winning run to six matches.
Morgan (concussion) and Justin O'Neill (dislocated elbow) left the field in the first half on a night which saw the Cowboys drop to eighth.
St George Illawarra Dragons are just outside the top eight after Kurt Mann, Jason Nightingale and Cameron McInnes scored two tries apiece in a 42-16 drubbing of Gold Coast Titans.
13. Dezember 2017
|Pordenone would´ve deserved Coppa Italia progression, admits Spalletti|
|Azarenka granted wildcard for Australian Open|
|Root urges England to stand up and put things right|
|Man City haven´t won anything yet – Gundogan|
|Pierre leads Dinamo Sassari past Pinar Karsiyaka|
|Willian: Chelsea will keep fighting for Premier League title|
|Burnley aren´t the real deal – Dyche|
|Stoger wants to bring best out of BVB after breakthrough victory|
|Conte praises contribution of Hazard, Willian and Pedro|
|Inter 0 Pordenone 0 (AET, 5-4 on penalties): Nagatomo spares Serie A leaders´ blushes|
12. Dezember 2017
|Hodgson keeping Palace grounded despite dramatic late win|
|Zouma injury led to Turf Moor defeat – Hughes|
|Guardiola steers carefully around Mourinho criticism after United v City flashpoint|
|Guardiola considering January signings to bolster Manchester City squad|
|Get me in the mix – Ricciardo wants to join Vettel, Hamilton rivalry|
|Crystal Palace 2 Watford 1: Sako, McArthur stun Hornets|
|Huddersfield Town 1 Chelsea 3: Willian sparkles as Conte´s side return to winning ways|
|Burnley 1 Stoke City 0: Hosts go fourth after late Barnes winner|
|PSG escape punishment as LFP gives Lille transfer ban|
|Mainz 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Stoger´s tenure begins with much-needed victory|
|Need to wrap a golf club for Christmas? Don´t ask Dustin Johnson for help|
|Ten Cate: Al Jazira will park three buses against Real Madrid|
|Gremio 1 Pachuca 0 (after extra time): Everton stunner sends Brazilians into final|
|Zidane focused on Club World Cup despite looming Clasico|
|Ibrahimovic brands Guardiola ´immature´ over Barcelona row|
|Gayle´s 18 sixes a new T20 record|
|Pogba has no regrets over rejecting Real Madrid|
|Gattuso denies contract rift with AC Milan goalkeeper Donnarumma|
|Where you at? Cleared Fury calls out Joshua|
|Pochettino: Alderweireld out until February|
|Wydad Casablanca 2 Urawa Red Diamonds 3: Marvellous Mauricio double proves decisive|
|Cardona given five-match ban for ´discriminatory´ gesture against South Korea|
|Fury clears comeback hurdle as UKAD proceedings resolved|
|Knee injury rules Wales´ Faletau out of Six Nations|
|James still settling at Bayern, says Heynckes|
|Pistorius bruised in alleged prison assault|
|Manchester City captain Kompany out for ´a short time´|
|Klopp: Liverpool need Lallana ahead of busy period|
|Spurs list Leonard as probable for season debut|
|It was diversity in education – Mourinho addresses derby fracas|
|I encourage City to celebrate - Guardiola defends players after Old Trafford controversy|
|I´m no actor – No regrets for Klopp over heated interview|
|Anderson: Duckett incident a non-event|
|Shingler commits to Scarlets|
|Everton were like United at Liverpool - Allardyce defends Anfield approach|
|Paulo Bento hired as Chongqing Lifan head coach|
|Wolfpack and Toulouse to make Magic Weekend history|
|Ramsey hamstring injury ´not a big one´|
|Watford´s Zeegelaar gets three-match ban as appeal is rejected|
|Struggling Northampton sack Mallinder|
|Matthaus raves about Spurs star Kane|
|Cook: England must improve damaged reputation|
|´Several clubs´ discussing Arda move as Barca exit nears|
|No ultimatum as Arsenal´s Ozil and Sanchez talks rumble on|
|Su-Mourinho? Wenger offers advice to City and United|
|Bayern planning ´serious talks´ with Robben, Ribery|
|Titans lure Roosters veteran Gordon|
|Hazlewood welcomes Johnson advice and eyes Root scalp|
|Pereira replaces Villas-Boas at Shanghai SIPG|
|Van Gaal rejected Leverkusen to hold out for a ´big club´|
|Cook dismisses retirement talk heading into 150th Test|
|Williamson lauds record-equalling Taylor as Kiwis celebrate series win|
|Dolphins stun Brady and Patriots|
|Inzaghi and Lazio left feeling ´defrauded´ after Torino defeat|
|Marsh confident and ready to heap misery on England|
|New Zealand sweep Windies with 240-run victory|
|Man United more boring under Mourinho, claims Van Gaal|
|Rodgers return a medical decision for Packers|
|Stanton rips ´unprofessional´ and ´circus times´ with Marlins|
|Zidane: Real Madrid want to win Club World Cup|