Manly Sea Eagles' Kieran Foran.
Manly Sea Eagles' Kieran Foran. GETTY IMAGES

Roosters crowing after sensational comeback

SOME extraordinary displays of athleticism from Roosters outside backs Daniel Tupou and Michael Jennings ensured the Tricolours won a memorable grand final 26-18 over Manly at ANZ Stadium last night.

Jennings's match-winner was aptly described as stupendous.

The Blues representative centre raced to a grubber from Roosters five-eighth James Maloney to hang his arms out over the dead-ball line and somehow ground the ball inside the chalk.

That moment was a sense of redemption for Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello, ensuring he did not become the first player to take part in five losing grand finals.

"This is unbelievable. We worked hard in the pre-season and we started to build that belief we could do something this year," he said.

"We believe in our game plan. We stuck to it and it got us home."

The Roosters took an 8-6 lead at half-time after an absorbing first 40 minutes, with wingers Jorge Taufua and Tupou scoring a try each for both Manly and Sydney respectively.

Tupou's effort to outleap his opposite David Williams, and level the scores at 6-6 after 28 minutes, was simply outstanding.

The Roosters then opened up their 8-6 lead three minutes later, the Sea Eagles' goal-line defence interfering with prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves's attempt at a play-the-ball.

Earlier, the northern Sydney club took a 4-0 lead with a try to Taufua.

Five-eighth Kieran Foran initiated the set play, with fullback Brett Stewart providing the assist.

The maroon and whites then took a 6-0 lead after 17 minutes with a penalty goal.

The game had a moment of controversy four minutes into the second half when Manly captain Jamie Lyon was awarded a questionable penalty try, after being tackled without the ball by Mitchell Aubusson.

Referee Shayne Hayne ruled it a try, and asked the video referees to check for a penalty try, before Hayne's original decision of try was overruled by video official Ashley Klein.

The Roosters were rattled by that, because Manly centre Steve Matai scored five minutes later, down the short side after quick hands from Stewart.

But the Roosters found hope just five minutes later with second-rower Aidan Guerrra scoring from close range to trail 18-14.

The Bondi club then raced to the front courtesy of a try to Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

Sonny Bill Williams started the play with a nice short ball, before Minichiello's looping pass saw Kenny-Dowall score, but not after a questionable pass from Maloney to Minichiello.

The Roosters then took their match-winning eight-point lead thanks to Jennings's freakish effort.

Manly halfback Daly-Cherry Evans took some consolation in the defeat, awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for best player on the ground - just the third player in a losing team to receive the gong.

"We'll be back bigger and better next year," he said.



(D Tupou, A Guerra, S Kenny-Dowall, M Jennings tries; J Maloney 5 goals)


(J Taufua, J Lyon, S Matai tries; J Lyon 3 goals)

Crowd: 81,491 at ANZ Stadium last night.



73RD MINUTE: The Roosters take a match-winning 26-18 lead with centre Michael Jennings spectacularly suspending his arms over the dead-ball line to reel in a James Maloney grubber, and place the ball inside the chalk, in one of the great grand-final tries.


60TH MINUTE: Brilliant short pass from Roosters second-rower Sonny Bill Williams sets Maloney on a long-range run. His pass to Anthony Minichiello looked forward, before a wonderful looping pass from the Roosters captain found Shaun Kenny-Dowall to score out wide. Conversion is a beauty for Roosters to lead 20-18.


44TH MINUTE: Controversial try awarded to Manly captain Jamie Lyon. Referee Shayne Hayne originally ruled it a try, while asking the video officials to check for a penalty try, as Lyon was tackled by Mitch Aubusson without the ball.

The fact the video referees ruled it a penalty try meant they over-ruled Hayne's original decision. Grey area also hung over the penalty try, with Lyon no guarantee of scoring even if he wasn't taken out.

Conversion successful for Sea Eagles to lead 12-8.


49TH UPDATE: Sea Eagles strike again through Steve Matai down the short side, thanks to some quick hands from Stewart. Manly 18-8 lead.


55TH MINUTE: Roosters second-rower Aidan Guerra scores from close range and conversion is successful for Sydney to trail 18-14.



31ST MINUTE: Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves earns a penalty in front of the posts for a Manly hand in the play-the-ball. Maloney kicks goal for an 8-6 scoreline to the Roosters


23RD MINUTE: A cross-field kick from Roosters five-eighth James Maloney sees winger Daniel Tupou soar above Manly's David Williams, akin to Michael Jordan making a dunk, before planting the ball down to score.

Conversion out wide from Maloney successful for 6-all.


17TH MINUTE: Lyon lands a penalty goal for a 6-0 lead to Manly.


8TH MINUTE: Manly draws first blood in this encounter with a try to Jorge Taufua down the Sea Eagles' left edge.

Five-eighth Kieran Foran initiated the set play, with fullback Brett Stewart providing the assist.

It was Foran that forced a Roosters turnover, coming up with a big hit on Sonny Bill Williams to knock the ball loose.

Manly captain Jamie Lyon missed the conversion from out wide.

The Roosters started the game with lock Boyd Cordner running on, cleared at the last minute from an ankle injury, and prop Luke O'Donnell (hamstring) on the bench.


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