After a week that saw the `Battle of the Shoulders’- referring to the Storm’s Billy Slater Shoulder Charge and Rooster’s Cooper Cronk shoulder injury – The Sydney City Roosters stood victorious over their Melbourne Storm rivals, to bring home the 2018 NRL Premiership in one of the most memorable games in NRL history!
Billy Slater was able to beat the 1 game suspension that usually follows a Shoulder Charge, and Cooper Cronk was able to rise above pain and biological constraints of a broken scapula, to also stand on the field and contribute to the success of his Roosters.
Fans of both camps were given the reward of seeing their heroes play in the Grand Final .. but it became clearly obvious very early on, that despite anything that had occurred in the week before, or what the press had written, the Sydney Roosters had all turned up at ANZ Stadium for one reason – to WIN the 2018 NRL Premiership and bring home the trophy!
It was a flawless game plan that was exceptionally well executed in the first half, to see the Roosters gain a lead advantage of 18-0 over the Storm. The defence that the Roosters have been known for all season, proved totally un-penetrable for the Storm, but it was also the Roosters brutal attack that drove back the Melbourne team and dominated ground cover.
In particular, Latrell Mitchell and Luke Keary were highlights with Latrell scoring the first 2 points in a penalty goal just 3 minutes into the game. Four minutes later, a brilliant Roosters try by Daniel Tupou brought the lead to 6-0.
In the 14th minute, Latrell carried the ball over the Storm line and also converted the Try to make the score 12-0. A further 4 minutes saw another Roosters Try by Sio Siua Tuakeiaho, however this was declared a No Try by the referee as Tuakeiaho fumbled the ball just before placing it to the ground. This was not disputed by the Roosters who moved on to a 14-0 lead when Latrell kicked a penalty goal that was awarded as Cameron Munster was sin-binned for a professional foul.
18-0 came a few minutes later when the Storm, now a man short, had their corner wide open enough for Joseph Manu to stroll through. Although Latrell couldn’t convert it, it was looking like Game Over for a Melbourne team, that had no clue what had hit them in the first half.
In the 62nd minute, the Storm finally scored when Addo-Carr intercepted a Luke Keary pass and raced off for 85 metres to place a try in a totally unguarded Roosters corner.
The Rooster’s spirit remained un-breakable though, and with an 11 minute count-down, Keary made a 30-metre field goal that sealed the Premiership. Incredibly, in the final minutes, a frustrated Munster was sin-binned once more for a kick to Manu’s head, and a few minutes later, Mitchell took advantage of the penalty to add two more points to the Roosters final tally.
The final score was 21-6 to the Roosters and to the crowd’s joy, marking this their first NRL Premiership win since 2013!