After scoring his second long-range match-winning try in as many weeks, Roosters winger Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck says his team never lost belief despite looking dead and buried at half-time of their Holden Cup Grand Final win over Penrith.
Down 28-6 with their hooker Grant Garvey gone for the game, having held just 40 per cent of the ball and being forced to make 45 more tackles – due to a 6-1 error count against them – Anthony Barnes’ team looked gone for all money.
But an early try after the break started the huge comeback, 18-year-old utility forward Victor Radley did a brilliant job filling in at dummy-half, and flying winger Tuivasa-Sheck’s long-range 72nd minute four-pointer earned them the 30-28 lead they would cling to through to the final siren.
"I still believed in us, especially coming off that win last week (against the Dragons after being down 14-0 at half-time)," Tuivasa-Sheck told NRL.com.
"I think that belief started at the beginning coming out in that second half. We still had things to offer and I think we’ve proved that in the last couple of weeks, we’ve always come back and always backed out talent.
"There’s no other club like the Sydney Roosters. They believe in us and we do this all for them to wear their jersey proud and it feels good."
A fiery half-time address from Barnes clearly did the trick but Tuivasa-Sheck said the overall message was fairly simple after the team was guilty of trying to get a bit too fancy with some high-risk offloads in the first 40.
"Just stick to our basics – we tried to be fancy and panicking in that first half, he just wanted us to bring it back," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"[The message was] just stop panicking, he definitely had the faith in us, he knew we could go all the way. He never had any doubt, it was just run hard, play the ball fast and things will happen."
Tuivasa-Sheck’s try was made even more dramatic by the fact he hurt his knee in tumbling to plant the ball under the posts and had to be substituted off, missing the dramatic closing stages of the premiership win.
He was able to celebrate on the field with his teammates but opted out of the victory lap due to the injury.
"I wish it was only five metres but being a winger I have to make it look dramatic!" Tuivasa-Sheck laughed.
"Especially on grand final day. I think it’s every winger’s dream to get that open space.
"Being a young bloke and not used to scoring many tries I’ve never been a good diver and I went into that try awkwardly and came out sore. No major dramas."