Melbourne snatch victory, minor premiership with late try over Roosters

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    After an enthralling 80 minutes, the Melbourne Storm have pinched a three-point victory and the minor premiership over the Sydney Roosters through a late Joe Stimson try.

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    With scores tied at 12-all after 70 minutes, a Luke Keary field goal appeared to have the Roosters in the drivers seat. It came just one play after Mitchell Pearce, who has already kicked three this year was rushed out of one, but Keary’s execution under pressure was fantastic.

    The Storm though, not to be deterred increased their defensive pressure and a panicy last tackle play from the Roosters saw Blake Ferguson chip a ball dead.

    The ensuing seven-tackle set and a penalty for the Storm allowed them to march up the field, with Cooper Cronk also rushed out of a field goal. He kept his cool and found a way for Joe Stimson to run into space, with the second rower scoring through a desperate last ditch attempt at a tackle.

    A short kick-off followed, but Josh Addo-Carr was put into a dangerous position resulting in a Storm penalty.

    The Roosters, at different times, appeared to be the better side against the all-conquering Storm, but poor discipline cost them through the first half. An 8-3 penalty count at one point turned the game, with the Storm kicking a pair of penalty goals to open the scoring.

    Suliasi Vunivalu was then gifted a controversial penalty try, with Latrell Mitchell pulling him off the ball when chasing a Cooper Cronk kick.

    The Storm, with all the territory at that point were up 10-0, but it didn’t take long for the Roosters to get back into the game a lovely grubber from the returning hooker Jake Friend seeing Luke Keary touch down in the corner.

    That was the end of the scoring for the first half, but not the drama with Blake Ferguson appearing to injure his shoulder and numerous stoppages over the final few minutes.

    The second half turned into a grind, with the Roosters looking to close their four-point deficit. They struggled to do so though, the next points not coming until deep into the second half with Mitchell Aubusson scoring in the corner off a Connor Watson pass.

    The visitors were only able to go onto the attack thanks to a Vunivalu brain explosion as he tried to hurdle the defence. It was one of the weirder moments seen on a rugby league field and levelled the game.

    Billy Slater then came up with an uncharacteristic error in the final ten minutes. Melbourne appeared to have the Roosters under pressure, but a Pearce clearing kick was dropped by Slater.

    Keary then slotted the field goal in the following set, but the Stimson try ensured the Storm would win at home and move six points clear at the top of the NRL ladder, meaning with a superior for and against, they are almost assured of winning the minor premiership.

    Final score

    Melbourne Storm 16
    Sydney Roosters 13

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.