Penrith's finals hopes continue to surge back to life but Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan's immediate future looks ready to officially flatline.
Brennan will need a miracle to save his job next week as his Titans were lucky to only lose 24-2 against the Panthers who snuck into the top eight for the first time.
Mal Meninga is expected to hand down his review into the club's operations on Monday, and Brennan's cause was not helped when his players made just one line-break and missed 36 tackles.
Not even six straight penalties in the first half could inspire a try for the visitors.
Brennan, just 18 months into his first head-coaching role, was diplomatic when asked about surviving the axe.
He added Tyrone Peachey was injured and was likely to return in the next three to four weeks, and it had nothing to do with speculation he wanted out of the holiday strip.
I was in the coppers for 18 years and I've seen some things that nobody would want to see. Coaching footy, I can deal with.
Titans coach Garth Brennan
"The uncertainty around the club is not ideal for the players. I'm in my mid-40s, I've got some life skills, I was in the coppers for 18 years and I've seen some things that nobody in their lifetime would want to see,'' Brennan said.
"Coaching footy, I can deal with the speculation quite easily. I don't listen to it, I don't buy into it, I can't control it.
"I'm not looking over my shoulder. All the speculation and talk and rumours, if I listened to all of it I'd be in the foetal position under the table.
"There are so many things going on around the place that take on a lot more significance than coaching rugby league.
"That's the way I look at it. That's no 'BS'. That's me telling it how it is.
"Do I want to keep my job? Of course I do. But the sun will come up tomorrow, like Ash Barty said the other day, and we move on.''
When pressed on whether he expected to keep his job, Brennan said: "That's between Mal and the board. They'll come up with what's best for the club. I love the club, I want the club to be successful, and that won't change regardless of what the outcome is next week.
"Whatever the decision might be, I'll have to deal with it. I might walk out of here and the team bus runs me over. [Then] I won't have to worry about it.''
As Brennan awaits his fate, Cleary is finally breathing easier as the team he returned home early to coach are starting to live up to their pre-season hype.
James Maloney backed up 48 hours after Origin, which allowed Cleary to give his son Nathan an extra week's rest to overcome an ankle injury.
They are not firing on all cylinders but they are winning, and they could not buy two points two months ago.
Cleary famously said last month Penrith were ready to be ''put down'' but quipped on Friday night: "We got a good injection.