New Zealand Warriors suffered golden-point misery for the third time in four NRL matches to ensure a dramatic late fightback against Canberra Raiders proved in vain on Saturday.
The Warriors scored three converted tries in the final 10 minutes - two coming courtesy of Thomas Leuluai - to level things up at 22-all, after Canberra had seemed home and dry with an 18-point lead.
However, Jarrod Croker then claimed his third try of the match to secure victory for the Raiders, who had also triumphed in golden point against Newcastle Knights in round 17.
Croker's hat-trick score moved the Raiders into the top four and left the ninth-placed Warriors with a familiar sinking feeling, following recent golden-point defeats to Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles.
Melbourne Storm replaced Cronulla Sharks as league leaders, for 24 hours at least, courtesy of a 26-10 home victory over Sydney Roosters.
Cronulla face rock-bottom Newcastle Knights, the only club below the Roosters, on Sunday and will be expected to regain top spot.
The Roosters scored first and last on Saturday through Blake Ferguson and Shaun Kenny-Dowall respectively, but were comfortably beaten as Dale Finucane, Cooper Cronk, Kevin Proctor and Tohu Harris crossed for Melbourne.
Parramatta Eels' miserable season continued with a 34-14 loss to the Gold Coast Titans, which ends the former's hopes of making the top eight.
The Eels - missing the suspended Corey Norman - lost skipper Beau Scott to an ankle problem before kick-off and were outscored six tries to two, Chris McQueen crossing twice for the Titans.