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Luke Keary receives the Clive Churchill Medal from Joyce Churchill.

Playing two positions in Sunday's Telstra Premiership grand final – and playing each superbly – Luke Keary has won the Clive Churchill Medal for 2018.

Keary's double act in playing both his No.6 and the bulk of Cooper Cronk's No.7 role was for all to see on the field, and was backed up by the match statistics.

At fulltime Keary had made 18 kicks for 451 metres to Cronk's four for 69 and made 16 tackles to nine.
But the telling figure was Keary but had touched the ball 71 times to Cronk's 18.

As the 26-year-old was announced as the medal winner, he looked momentarily stunned.

After acknowledging the Storm's achievement in making three straight grand finals, he turned to the Roosters players and the crowd erupted.

"We did it. It's been an awesome year," Keary said. "This medal, everyone has got a little bit of it – all 30 of us, all the support stuff, I can't thank you enough. Let's party, eh?"

As if the two Roosters halves didn't already have a strong bond, Keary and Cronk now join the elite group of players to have won premierships with different clubs.

Cronk did it last year with the Storm and this year with Melbourne, making him the first player to win back-to-back premierships at two different clubs since Johnny Mayes in 1973-74 with Manly and Easts.

"We room every week and we talk a lot about football and the mentalities... someone asked him during the week and he said, 'I don't care if Cooper is playing or not'," Cronk said.

"I thought, 'That's a bit aggressive' but he showed where his mindset was at.

"He owned it and he played the game of his life tonight. It was all set up for him.

"I was basically going to be run a decoy on the opposite side of the field. He took it, he ran with it, he was tough, he had a high skills set, he just wanted it. He didn't hesitate. He saw something and went for it."

Keary said it was "a big statement" to say it was the best game of his career.

"It does feel good. I'm honestly stoked for every single person that's involved with this team," he said. "I'm just so happy for every person in that dressing room.

"I knew the situation and we'd worked so hard to get there. I think I said – and excuse my language – we got all the way to this week so you don't shit yourself because one bloke got hurt. You go out and get the job done.

"I knew if Coops wasn't there what I had to do. And if he was there, what I had to do."

Match Highlights: Roosters v Storm

At least for this grand final, a Roosters player was awarded the medal.

Back in 2013 when the Bondi club beat Manly 26-18 it was the Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans who controversially won the Clive Churchill.

When Keary won a premiership ring with South Sydney in 2014 it was Sam Burgess who had the medal draped around his neck.

Roosters co-captain Jake Friend knows the value of the Hills District Bulls junior.

"He had his head on from the start of the week because he knew it would be a big game for him," Friend told Channel Nine.

"You know, when he does get his head on he's an angry little man. I was excited for what he was going to do tonight and he didn't disappoint."

Coach Trent Robinson said Keary's grand final performance began a week ago, when the exact nature of Cronk's injury became known. By Sunday night the scans showed Cronk had a fractured shoulder blade.

"Luke got his head on straight away... honestly he was a man possessed from Monday onwards," Robinson said.

"He said, 'We're going to do this; I'm going to do it this way'.

"He was ready for Cooper to play but he wasn't asking 'Coops, are you going to play?' He said, 'We're going to play this way'."

"He won that Clive Churchill Medal some time [last] Sunday night," Robinson said.

Keary might end up with an even greater prize – a Kangaroos jersey.

Incumbent Australian No.6 Cameron Munster was sin-binned twice in the grand final win and will wait anxiously for the NRL match review committee to look at the game.

The second infringement is the one to worry about.

Senior referee Gerard Sutton placed Munster on report in the 78th minute for an apparent kick to the back of centre Joseph Manu's head.

Any penalty could stop Munster playing for Australia in the October 13 Test against New Zealand or Tonga a week later (October 20).

Australia coach Mal Meninga names his Kangaroos line-up on Monday at11am.

Roosters lift the the 2018 Premiership trophy

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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