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Road to the grand final: How Roosters arrived at the big dance

The Sydney Roosters have had another incredible season that has them on track to be the first club to win back to back premierships since the Broncos in 1992-93. This is their road to the finals. 

Round 1: Rabbitohs 26 - Roosters 16

In Cooper Cronk’s 350th game it was his rival half Adam Reynolds who stole the show with a kicking masterclass to guide the Rabbitohs to an upset win. Reynolds' kicking game starved the Roosters of good field position and kept superstar fullback James Tedesco out of the game. He also set up two tries with perfectly placed grubber kicks aimed at the posts.

Round 2: Roosters 26 - Sea Eagles 16

With the Roosters missing key players Cooper Cronk and Jake Friend, it was Luke Keary who stepped up and stole the show in a flawless first half where he produced four try assists as the Roosters raced to a 22-0 lead. The Roosters lost their way in the second half thanks to some uncharacteristic errors which led to back to back tries by the Sea Eagles, but managed to hold on and get the win.

Round 3: Roosters 32 - Eels 18

It was the premiers versus the wooden spooners but the game was much closer then expected. With Jake Friend and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves going off injured during the game, it was James Tedesco who stepped up and delivered an attacking and defensive masterclass, setting up one try, scoring two himself while busting 11 tackles. He was typically safe at the back, producing a number of courageous kick returns and defensive efforts to guide the Roosters home.

Match Highlights: Eels v Roosters

Round 4: Roosters 36 - Broncos 4

The Roosters ran riot as Cooper Cronk returned from injury to set up three first-half tries. Cronk was the victim of a late shot by Tevita Pangai Jnr which commentator Andrew Johns referred to as a ‘dog shot’. The Roosters finished the game with one of the tries of the season scored by centre Joseph Manu which featured three kicks and went through six sets of hands to finish off what Trent Robinson described as they’re best win to date.

Round 5: Roosters 30 - Sharks 16

The Roosters had too much class for the Sharks in their comfortable win. It was a game in which Latrell Mitchell showed everyone exactly why he is considered the best centre in the world when he raced 60 metres after a perfectly placed chip kick by Luke Keary to score on the final play of the first half. The Sharks almost scored early in the second half but Bronson Xerri dropped the ball and the Roosters made them pay for it, scoring three tries in nine minutes to seal victory. 

Round 6: Roosters 21 - Storm 20

In a thrilling Good Friday clash between the premiership heavyweights it was the Roosters who scraped home courtesy of a long-range Latrell Mitchell field goal in golden point – but not before the Storm had given them one hell of a scare. The Chooks had raced to a 20-0 lead before Cameron Smith steered his side towards an epic comeback, levelling the scores before Mitchell kicked the match-winner. Cooper Cronk received plenty of attention from the crowd in his first game back at AAMI Park since moving to the Roosters but the classy No.7 had the last laugh as he guided his side home to victory.

Match Highlights: Storm v Roosters

Round 7: Roosters 20 - Dragons 10

In another classic Anzac Day battle, inspirational co-captain Jake Friend was the standout after the Roosters withstood a late comeback from the Dragons to get the win. The Roosters led 14-0 at half time before Zac Lomax scored in the corner and Matt Dufty scored a memorable 55-metre solo try to spark a comeback. The Roosters iced the game when a big hit from Friend forced the ball lose from Dufty and Siua Taukeiaho ran 20 Metres to score the match-winner.

Round 8: Roosters 42 - Tigers 12

Latrell Mitchel produced a superb individual performance as he finished with a personal haul of 26 points and led the Roosters to a dominant win. Mitchell scored a hat-trick, set up two tries and ran for 202 metres from just seven runs in a performance that was judged by many as a 10/10. The Tigers did well to keep the scoreboard at only 18-6 in the first half but couldn’t hold on in the second as Mitchell guided the roosters to a big win. 

Round 9: Roosters 30 - Raiders 24

The Roosters overcame a defiant Raiders side in a Magic Round thriller to hold on to a 30-24 win. The Roosters raced to a 30-6 lead in the first half despite losing Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner and Daniel Tupou to injury. Canberra scored 3 second half tries and almost won the game in the 80th minute but a forward pass by Nick Cotric denied then a chance to take the game to golden point. James Tedesco led the way for the Roosters with one try, three try assists and 199 running metres. 

Round 10: Broncos 15 - Roosters 10

The Broncos caused one of the upsets of the year when mid-season signing James Segeyaro dived over from dummy half to score the match-winner. The loss ended the Roosters' eight-game winning streak. The match was all square at eight-all at half-time and there were no more points until an Anthony Milford field goal in the 64th minute gave the Broncos the lead. Segeyaro later dived over for the winner before a Latrell Mitchell Penalty goal gave the Roosters some hope, but the Broncos held on to win.

Match Highlights: Broncos v Roosters

Round 11: Knights 38 - Roosters 12

The Knights stunned the Roosters 38-12 as Mitchell Pearce came back to haunt his old club. Trent Robinson's decision to rest Cooper Cronk backfired when Luke Keary was knocked out in a Daniel Saifiti tackle and failed to return, which left inexperienced half Brock Lamb to try and run the show. Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga combined well and put on plenty of points after the Roosters struggled to deal with Keary’s absence.

Round 12 Bye

A chance to rest some weary bodies and recharge the batteries for the run to the finals.

Round 13: Panthers 19 - Roosters 10

A dominant display from halves Nathan Cleary and James Maloney guided Penrith to an upset victory against the Roosters. Maloney had a hand in all three of Penrith’s tries and kicked a field goal, while Cleary made two important try-saving tackles. Missing Luke Keary, the Roosters attack looked clunky at times and while they had plenty of chances to score, Penrith’s defence was too good.

Round 14: Roosters 38 - Bulldogs 12

The Roosters bounced back after three losses in a row and were far too good for the Bulldogs. In the absence of James Tedesco, Joseph Manu played fullback and terrorised the Bulldogs, scoring two tries, setting up one more and running for 299 metres. Latrell Mitchell bagged a double but had a tough night with the boot, kicking 3/7.

Round 15: Storm 14 - Roosters 12

Melbourne put on a defensive masterclass at Adelaide Oval as they kept the Roosters to just two tries. The premiers threw everything at the Storm, with Latrell Mitchell putting on a show while filling in for the injured Luke Keary at five-eighth. In the end the teams were separated only by a Cameron Smith penalty goal, with the Storm clinching a 14-12 victory – their sixth straight win – to go six points clear at the top of the table.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Storm

Round 16: Roosters 24 - Tigers 16

Luke Keary’s return from injury saw the Roosters back to their attacking best and had Latrell Mitchell firing out on the left edge. Some Benji Marshall magic saw the Tigers leading 12-8 at half-time before Keary and Mitchell combined brilliantly to score two tries to win the match. 

Round 17: Cowboys 15 - Roosters 12

The Cowboys made Gavin Cooper’s 300th game a happy one when the Cowboys upset the Roosters on the Central Coast, thanks to a Jake Clifford field goal. It was a close game, and when the scores became locked up at 12-12 in the second half, Clifford stepped up after missing his first two attempts, and kicked the winning field goal, and then kicked a penalty goal on the siren to finish the match.

Round 18: Roosters 48 - Knights 10

Seven second-half tries by the Roosters blew the Knights off the park. It was a close first half as the Roosters led 6-4. But two minutes into the second, Latrell Mitchell ran 90 metres after blocking Jesse Ramien’s attempted kick. The Knights hit back through Herman Ese’ese, before Tedesco stepped up and made a 55-metre break that led to a Boyd Cordner try two plays later. Then the floodgates opened and in marched Sio Taukeiaho, Victor Radley, Mitch Aubusson, Nat Butcher and Daniel Tupou for tries.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Knights

Round 19: Roosters 20 - Bulldogs 12

With all the hype around Latrell Mitchell and the Roosters' left edge it was Joseph Manu’s right edge that terrorised the Bulldogs all afternoon. The Roosters led 14-0 at half time but the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away as Reimis Smith bagged a second-half double to keep it close and make the Roosters work hard for their victory. 

Round 20: Roosters 58 - Titans 6

The Roosters completely demolished the Titans at the SCG. The Titans were never in the game, and it took just six minutes for Luke Keary to put Angus Crighton through a whole and James Tedesco to back up and scored under the posts. Brett Morris scored a hat-trick in just 21 minutes as the Roosters led 28-0 at half-time. Tedesco, Cronk and Mitchell scored second-half tries before a rare repeat set finally gave Titans fans something to cheer about, with Ash Taylor's inside ball putting Ryley Jacks in under the posts. Sam Verrils dived over from dummy-half in the 79th minute to cap off a phenomenal performance by the Roosters.

Round 21: Roosters 22 - Raiders 18

The Roosters held off a fast-finishing Raiders side who proved that they are serious title contenders in a close game that could’ve gone either way. The Roosters scored first through Victor Radley before Canberra fought back to lead 12-6. The Roosters came back to lead 18-12 at the break and then Daniel Tupou opened the scoring in the second half to give the Roosters a 10-point lead. Elliot Whitehead scored off a Josh Hodgson grubber and set up a thrilling finish in the final 15 mins but the Roosters' defence was just too good and they held on for a narrow win.

Round 22: Roosters 42 - Warriors 6

The Roosters continued their remarkable run of form at the SCG, putting on another cricket score. In the opening 40 the Warriors put a lot of pressure on the Roosters, scoring the first try through Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, before the Roosters hit back through Joseph Manu and Latrell Mitchell. The Roosters went on to score 30 unanswered points in the second half to embarrass the Warriors and win comfortably.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Warriors

Round 23: Roosters 34 - Dragons 12

The Roosters had too much class for the Dragons, winning 34-12. The Roosters put on a clinic in the first half, leading 28-0. Cooper Cronk was the Roosters' best, having a hand in three of the six tries the Roosters scored which featured an incredible cross-field kick for Daniel Tupou. With Latrell Mitchell ruled out late, young gun Billy Smith made his NRL debut and scored a try. James Tedesco continued his incredible form, running for a game high 237 metres, scoring one try and setting up two others.

Round 24: Roosters 22 - Panthers 6

When Villiame Kikau barged over for the opening try it looked like another upset could be on the cards but this time the Roosters were far too classy for Penrith. Panthers couldn’t get past the Roosters' defence again while the Roosters cruised to a 22-6 win. James Tedesco was again up there as one of the Roosters' best but it was young hooker Sam Verrils who really stood up, making a game-high 50 tackles in the middle, scoring a try and setting up Latrell Mitchell with a brilliant short ball close to the line.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Panthers

Round 25: Rabbitohs 16 - Roosters 10

On the eve of the finals it was the Rabbitohs who beat the Roosters again, winning a close game 16-10. The Rabbitohs overcame the loss of Dane Gagai, Junior Tatola, Liam Knight, John Sutton and Adam Reynolds in the second half to fight back from at 10-2 halftime deficit and give the Roosters their first defeat since Round 17. It was a dominant first 40 minutes by the Roosters who should’ve scored a few more tries but made crucial errors. Two tries in three minutes gave the Rabbitohs a 14-10 lead before Adam Reynolds' penalty goal sealed the win. 

Finals Week 1: Roosters 30 - Rabbitohs 6

The Roosters booked themselves another preliminary final appearance after smashing the Rabbitohs to get revenge for the previous week’s loss. The Roosters produced arguably their most clinical performance of the season while South Sydney dished up one of their worst performances of the year. The Roosters led 26-0 at half time and looked like putting a cricket score on the Rabbitohs but took their foot off the gas in the second half. Luke Keary tormented his former club, finishing with three try assists on a near-perfect night for the No.6.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Rabbitohs

Preliminary Final: Roosters 14 - Storm 6

The Roosters moved one step closer to back to back premierships, defeating the storm 14-6 to advance to the grand final. The Roosters made some uncharacteristic errors throughout the game and invited the Storm back in the contest many times, but their defence was simply phenomenal. Brandon Smith made a huge impact off the bench for the Storm and threatened to score the match-winner, but it was the impact of Angus Crighton off the bench, making a crucial line break that led to James Tedesco scoring the match-winner the next tackle.

 

Tickets for the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final 2019 are now on sale to the general public.

Tickets are available through Ticketek and nrl.com/tickets.

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