NRL 2 years ago

Storm upset Roosters in NRL final opener

  • Storm upset Roosters in NRL final opener
  • Storm upset Roosters in NRL final opener

At the start of the 2015 season even Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy had his doubts about his side's NRL premiership credentials.

But his side's gutsy 20-18 qualifying final win over minor premiers the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium has made him a believer again.

The Storm have turned the title race on its head, outlasting the Roosters despite being reduced to a two-man bench for most of the second half.

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The result brought the Roosters' 12-match winning streak to a screeching halt and they now face a sudden-death play-off against either Canterbury or St George Illawarra next Friday night.

After trailing 8-6 at the break, the Storm shrugged off the loss of Marika Koroibete and Jordan McLean to earn a week off and they are now one win away from a grand final berth.

The Storm were roundly written off following the loss of superstar fullback Billy Slater to a shoulder injury halfway through the season but Cameron Munster, who was a standout against the Tricolours, has filled his shoes with aplomb.

"I think at he start of the year there were a few people writing us off," Bellamy said.

"I wouldn't say it's a rebuilding year but we've got a lot of young players in our team that are new to first grade or new to the NRL.

"When Billy went down it was obviously a major blow to us and we all probably thought that.

"Munster's done a really good job for us. Besides that everybody else has lifted."

In the wash up, Storm captain Cameron Smith's goalkicking proved the difference as he booted four from four.

While the Roosters' kicking and fifth tackle options were poor as they failed to build pressure.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the referees failed to police the ruck area and the Storm were allowed to implement wrestling tactics which slowed the play the ball.

He said he didn't believe it was a fatal blow to his team's campaign and they were confident of getting back halfback Mitchell Pearce (hamstring) next week.

"We want to go week three. That always helps, that's for sure," Robinson said.

"History says a lot of teams make it going to week two as well.

"We've just got to make sure we play well next week."

Koroibete scored his side's opener but failed to return after the break after suffering a lacerated Achilles.

He had 12 stitches and left the ground in a cast and Bellamy said he was not a certainty to be available for their preliminary final in a fortnight.

The loss of the former Wests Tiger forced Bellamy to reshuffle his left side and while it was far from ideal, Kurt Mann crossed in the corner soon after being shifted to Koroibete's wing.

McLean spent the final 20 minutes on the sideline after tweaking his right knee but Bellamy said early indications were positive

The Storm went up 20-12 with eight minutes on the clock after Tim Glasby crossed but down to a two-man bench they began to fade.

The Roosters scored just a minute later after a short kick off and were threatening to run over the top of the Storm but could not strike the final blow.

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