With key players missing from both sides, the Melbourne Storm welcomed Sydney Roosters to Suncorp Stadium to fight for number one spot at the end of the night.
The opening stages of the game were extremely physical as each player looked to make their mark on the game for their side.
The Roosters were the first to go close, as Luke Keary’s crossfield kick found Daniel Tupou, but unfortunately, the big winger couldn’t quite finish off the move.
However, a mistake from Melbourne in their own half allowed Brett Morris to pick up the loose ball and offload to Kyle Flanagan who ran in 15 metres for a try.
Flanagan then dropped the ball in a tackle by Justin Olam in the very next set, which was picked up off the floor by Josh Addo-Carr who raced 50 metres to peg back the Roosters.
Cameron Smith, playing in the halves, converted to level the scores after 15 minutes.
In the 20th minute, both sides were offloading with ease, but it nearly came back to hurt the Storm.
Olam offloaded near his own line, which was collected by Angus Crichton who went close to the line. The Roosters then spread the ball left, which was then fumbled backwards by Josh Morris, with the loose ball then knocked on again by the Storm’s Felise Kaufusi to a Roosters scrum 10-metres out.
Tedesco then failed to connect with his pass to Brett Morris, to let Melbourne off the hook, to finally put an end to a quick flurry of errors.
The Roosters then gifted the home side a perfect opportunity to score, as Crichton dropped the ball at the play-the-ball, which was swiftly followed by an offside penalty.
Two set restarts later, Keary and Josh Morris managed to wrap up Ryan Papenhuyzen and toss him over the touchline.
The Storm were determined to take the lead into the half though, but Cameron Smith’s high bomb to the corner was gathered by Tupou and the visitors held firm once more.
With just a few minutes left until the break, it was the Roosters who showed the Storm just how to finish off their try-scoring chances.
Daniel Tupou once again gathered the kick to the corner from Keary and as he landed, offload to Josh Morris, who looped around his winger, collected the pass and beat the tackles off both Suliasi Vunivalu and Paul Momirovski to score.
HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 6-12 Sydney Roosters
Just 90 seconds into the second half, Melbourne scored their second try off another mistake by the Roosters.
Boyd Cordner attempted an offload out of the tackle, but the ball was picked off by Tom Eisenhuth, who released Jahrome Hughes who ran 40 metres to score under the posts.
The Roosters didn’t seem to come out of the changing rooms with the same intensity as the they had in the first half, but Melbourne were struggling to make the most of their chances with the ball in hand.
That was until the 55th minute, as Luke Keary and James Tedesco combined down the left-edge to put the Roosters on the front foot.
A quick play-the-ball allowed Lindsey Collins and Angus Crichton to push the ball out to Brett Morris who slid over in the right-hand corner for his 160th try, and the 300th between the two twins.
The back and forth continued, as Christian Welch looked to stretch over off the line, unfortunately, Tedesco stripped the ball in the act of scoring the try, and was then picked up in an offside position by Collins to deny the Storm.
Due to the accidental offside, Melbourne looked to level up once again as they started the set inside the ten-metre line.
Daniel Tupou easily collected Hughes’ high kick, but an error from Manu, inside his own half, meant the pressure continued on the visitors.
After holding out the Storm, and with just over ten minutes to go, it looked as though the Roosters and stretched ahead further.
Luke Keary was the catalyst as he ran at a backtracking Melbourne defence, held in Vunivalu to then pass outside to Josh Morris, who outpaced Vunivalu to the corner, and beat the tackle of his opposite number to score despite being twisted into an unnatural position.
Melbourne didn’t quit though, as the Storm won back to restart, and Hughes used to speed and footwork to beat Nat Butcher on the inside, and the outstretching Jake Friend to set up a grandstand finish.
With eight minutes to go and the Roosters leading by four, the game was still anybody’s to take.
In the very next attacking set, Melbourne powered up to the 20-metre line in the Sydney half, and once again kicked over to Tupou from the boot of Ryley Jacks.
This time, Tupou, under no pressure, dropped the ball, which was collected by Hughes, who threw a basketball pass out to Momirovski, stepped inside Josh Morris, and past the tackle of Tupou, to stretch over and level the scores with a kick to come.
Cameron Smith’s conversion bounced over after hitting the upright to make it 24-22 with five minutes remaining.
With three minutes on the clock, James Tedesco was tackled without the ball in his attempt to tap the ball back infield.
This allowed Kyle Flanagan to try and level the scores, and the young half-back duly delivered for 24-24, with time for just one attacking set for each team.
In the very next set, the Roosters charged up to within 25-metres of the Melbourne try-line and the ball was flung back to Luke Keary, who swung his right-foot at the ball and struck a perfect drop-goal for a one-point lead.
The Melbourne Storm managed to regain the field-goal and on the final hooter, Ryan Papenhuyzen hit back with a one-pointer of his own to force the game into extra-time.
FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 25-25 Sydney Roosters
Melbourne were the first to receive the ball in Golden-Point, but couldn’t get themselves into field-goal position, and neither could the Roosters after good defence from the Storm.
On his own 30-metre line, Boyd Cordner picked up a big hit and dropped the ball in the attempt to play-the-ball.
This allowed Melbourne to attack from midfield, and after Jake Friend was penalised for lying interference at the ruck, Cameron Smith kicked a penalty from directly in front of the posts for the victory.
GOLDEN-POINT FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 27-25 Sydney Roosters
Papenhuyzen, Vunivalu, Olam, Momirovski, Addo-Carr, C. Smith, Hughes, J. Bromwich, B. Smith, Welch, Kaufusi, K. Bromwich, Finucane
Interchanges: Jacks, Faasuamaleaui, Eisenhuth, Asofa-Solomona
Tries: Addo-Carr, Hughes (2), Momirovski
Goals: C. Smith (5/5)
Tedesco, Tupou, J. Morris, Manu, B. Morris, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Crichton, Butcher
Interchanges: Faamausili, Tupouniua, Aubusson, Collins
Tries: Flanagan, J. Morris (2), B. Morris
Goals: Flanagan (4/5)
Referee: A. Klein
Touch Judges: D. Munro, P. Henderson
Video Referee: B. Galea
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)