Roosters v Titans: Five key points
The Roosters survived an almighty scare to steal a 20-16 win over the injury-ravaged Titans to claim second spot and a home final.
Roosters claim home ground advantage
The Roosters knew they would play the Broncos in Week One of the finals no matter what happened on Saturday, but their narrow win means they'll host Brisbane next week with the winner set to earn a rest leading into the grand final qualifier.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson wasn't overly fussed about where they played the qualifying final but Allianz Stadium looms as a key factor given the Tricolours have won four in a row against the Broncos at the venue and lost only one match there this season.
"We've got a good home record, they've got a good home record, so we can talk about that, but I didn't care," he said.
"We've taken a different path this year and we're going to take a different path [in the finals]. It doesn't make it any easier or harder; we're playing Brisbane on Friday night so let's go."
Roosters leave it late… again
There's a fine line between winning and losing in the NRL and the Roosters once again showed that they are the kings of the thriller with their 11th win by six points or less in 2017.
They were tipped to beat the Titans by a cricket score and Robinson conceded some of his players simply didn't execute from the get-go; something that has become a bit of a trend in recent weeks.
"We were trying to win right from the start and you could see that we were quite tight with our plays," he said.
"You could see that we created a lot of opportunities but often the last pass – or with some opportunities – it was us trying to win before we got to end the game. That's a fair error in that game and that cost us big time."
Titans battered but brave
There have been some strange results this season but had the Titans managed to hang on for the win, it would have easily been the biggest upset of 2017.
Ravaged by injuries throughout the year, the Titans were without a host of stars on Saturday but put in a spirited performance that belied their lowly position and the gross situation they found themselves in.
"If we won that, my feelings wouldn't have changed," interim co-coach Terry Matterson said after the game.
"We're in a results driven business and we're pretty desperate for a win, but what they went through out there probably mirrors our season."
Lesson learnt by generation next
To highlight how depleted the Titans were, Keegan Hipgrave became the 17th player to make his debut for the club this season when he was injected into the contest midway through the first half.
In essence they've fielded an entire squad worth of rookies this year, and as hard as it's been at times, Matterson is confident the youngsters will take plenty out of their experiences in 2017.
"The way they handled themselves today against a pretty good side, defensively they rolled their sleeves up and put their bodies on the line and they learnt to stay in a tough game. They'll take a lot from that," he said.
Roosters cap incredible turnaround
If 2016 was the year from the hell then 2017 has been a heavenly experience for the Roosters who have bounced back from a horror campaign that saw them finish 15th to earn a top-two finish 12 months on.
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Tricolours last year but they've shown mental toughness to respond in style. Scarily for the rest of the competition, their coach says they're far from done.
"I won't go into it too much because this is an important part of the season," Robinson said.
"I felt like we knew we were going to improve; we had a good quality team that was going to improve fast. I didn't know how quick, and we didn't cap them. I feel like we've had a really good year, the staff and players, and we're not finished."