A COME-from-behind win by Central Comets had the 700-strong crowd ready to roar on the Panthers last Saturday.
But disappointing second-half defence spoilt the party with both the Panthers' reserve and A-grade sides dropping out of the CQ Challenge Cup.
Playing after the Comets' Queensland Cup match, the Reserves seemed to revel in the atmosphere, with their talented back-line racing in several early tries.
They went into half time with a 12-8 lead.
But it appeared the Panthers clocked off during the break, with Rockhampton Brothers racing in six unanswered tries to win 44-12.
It was a similar story for the A-grade.
The Panthers established a four-point lead in a rugged first half before but their defence leaked 36 points in the second half.
A Panthers spokesman said it was disappointing both teams didn't capitalise on a great opportunity to push for places in the CQ Challenge Cup finals.
While hopes of glory in the Challenge Cup have evaporated, Panthers have three teams playing in the Gladstone District finals starting in three weeks.
CQ Comets impressed the Biloela faithful with a gutsy 26-14 win over a Norths Devils outfit which included Broncos signing Ashton Sims and former Storm five-eighth Matt Geyer.
After trailing 10-6 at halftime and with several key players nursing injuries, the Comets dug deep to come up with the win that has sealed a play-offs berth.
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