The South Sydney Rabbitohs have ended the Wests Tigers finals hopes with a 26-24 victory at Bankwest Stadium.
Taking a giant stride towards securing a home final in the first week of the play-offs, the Rabbitohs secured the victory with a dominant opening in a match that saw the teams reduced to 12-on-11 midway through the second half.
After spending the past three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring issue, representative speedster Dane Gagai (11th minute) exposed the inexperienced pairing of Asu Kepaoa and Tommy Talau to open the scoring for the visitors.
Setting up the win with 14 points in the space of five minutes, an Adam Reynolds penalty goal was quickly followed by tries to Corey Allan (23rd minute) and Campbell Graham (25th minute) - both initiated from inside the Rabbitohs' half of the field.
Trailing 20-0 and with their mathematical finals hopes on the line, the Tigers rallied before the break with four-pointers to Luke Garner (32nd minute) and Talau (35th minute) to head to the sheds down by eight.
Losing Alex Twal to the sin bin shortly after the resumption for holding down following a break, a scuffle a few sets later involving Luke Brooks and Dane Gagai saw both men cool their heels for ten minutes.
Crossing for a decisive try just as both teams were back to 13-men respectively, Graham (58th minute) bagged his second of the night to put the Rabbitohs up 26-12.
Getting the Tigers back in the match with some skilful play, Benji Marshall had a hand in tries for Brooks (61st minute) and Kepaoa (65th minute) to set up a grandstand finish.
Throwing plenty at their opponents over the final ten minutes, only for poor execution to prove costly, the Tigers were left to lament another season of missed opportunities as the Rabbitohs prevailed by two.
Next week, the Tigers face the Storm at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday evening, while the Rabbitohs host the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.