Bryce Cartwright has made a compelling case for a New South Wales call up after firing Penrith to a 28-26 NRL home win over South Sydney.
While the Panthers five-eighth had a mixed night in defence, he tore the Souths line to shreds, setting up three of the home side's five tries.
While Blues coach Laurie Daley is under pressure to ring in changes for Origin III, he would have been questioning whether Cartwright was up to it when he came up with some questionable defensive decisions, including a bad miss which led to Greg Inglis strolling over to give Souths the lead in the first half.
It is the fourth straight loss for Souths.
Two late tries to Sam Burgess made for an exciting finish but the Panthers were the better side for most of the contest.
While the Panthers are now on track to make the finals, coach Anthony Griffin admitted he was worried by the lapses in recent games.
However, he said their ability to put sides to the sword and post quick points boded well.
"We've been building and we're playing with a lot more composure down their end of the field," Griffin said.
"I was disappointed how we played down our end tonight, which is normally a strength of ours, but I think we turned over four or five times, which made it really hard on us.
"We didn't get bored with Souths and suddenly the points flooded, it's a sign of a real composed side."
The Rabbitohs face having to win seven of their finals nine games and are due to be boosted next week by the return of Reynolds from a shoulder injury.
Coach Michael Maguire said he wasn't worried about their standing, despite the very real prospect of missing the finals for the first time in his tenure.
"We had our opportunities there and put ourselves into some tough positions that gave them opportunities and you can't do that in the NRL," Maguire said.
"There were times when we showed some good fight in our defence. We've been talking about that for a while, but that's an area we need to tidy up."