A Cooper Cronk field goal handed Melbourne a one-point victory over the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
In the driving rain, both sides refused to give an inch for the entirety of the contest with tries coming at a premium. It took until the 74th minute of play for a second half deadlock to be broken before Cronk was called upon after an eleventh hour Roosters try.
The home side were let off the hook early with Mitch Aubusson knocking on the first try scoring opportunity of the match.
Up the other end, Marika Koroibete made the most of Melbourne’s first opportunity, scoring his 11th try of the season after he acrobatically brought down a cross-field kick from Cooper Cronk.
Almost immediately the Roosters returned serve, showing why they are one of the competition favourites in 2015. A seamless forward move was finished off by Aubusson after a short ball from James Maloney.
Two penalty goals then allowed the Roosters to push their lead out to six points with half-time fast approaching and the rain continuing to pour down at AAMI Park.
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Handed a late opportunity to press the visitors’ defence, some fast ball movement from Melbourne ended in a Felise Kaufusi try to lock up the scores at 10-10 after an absorbing first 40 minutes.
A second half slog ensued with the game being played predominately between the two 20 metre arcs. The Roosters weathered back-to-back sets holding out Melbourne before the Storm defence was called into action to deny Nene Macdonald and keep the scores tied.
With time continuing to tick down, both sides could not break the deadlock until Will Chambers made the most of an overlap play created by skipper Cameron Smith out of dummy half.
Not to be outdone, the Roosters regained possession and just as they did in the first half responded quickly. Maloney’s conversion tied the scores once again setting up a grandstand finish where Cronk proved cool under pressure to kick truly.
Melbourne Storm 17
Tries: Koroibete, Kaufusi, Chambers
Goals: Smith 2/3
Field goal: Cronk
Sydney Roosters 16
Tries: Tupou, Aubusson
Goals: Maloney 4/4