The Sydney Roosters have become the first team to go back-to-back in a unified NRL competition in over 25 years with victory over the Canberra Raiders in the 2019 grand final.
Not since the Brisbane Broncos won in both 1992 and 1993 has a team managed to back up a premiership with the same result the next year. The Roosters have confirmed their status as the best side in the game.
It was a game which flipped and turned on a dime multiple times, with the Raiders looking the team more likely to take the victory for large chunks of the contest.
It could have all been so different through following a strong start for the tri-colours, who looked to simply come out and do what they have done so many times before in the last couple of months.
Their efforts early on, which included the opening try of the game (somewhat assisted by getting an extra set of six following the footy hitting the trainer) to Sam Verrills, and a penalty goal in the 20th minute, had the Raiders on the back foot.
However, unlike other teams before them, the green machine refused to wilt to the pressure, hanging around in the game to the point where they were on top of the contest, if not the scoreboard, by the time halftime rolled around.
They may have been unlucky not to have had more than one try on the board by halftime, which led to them still being two points behind, but they had all the momentum into the second half.
It was that momentum which kicked off the second half, with Canberra, for the most part staying on top of the game, even if they weren’t able to breach the watertight Roosters defence.
The Roosters continued to grimly hold on, including through a ten-minute period where Cooper Cronk was sent to the sin bin for tackling Josh Papalii early in a potential try-scoring position.
The tri-colours defence was phenomenal, and they eventually caught a break when the referee controversially ruled six to go for Canberra, only to change it to a call of last tackle.
Jack Wighton, instead of kicking as he otherwise would have done, died with the ball, and the Roosters were able to score a phenomenal long-range try down the short side, triggered by Luke Keary and a flick pass from Latrell Mitchell, as James Tedesco stepped up to deliver the match-winning try.
Sydney Roosters 14
Canberra Raiders 8