In a miracle turn-around by the Tricolours, Brian Smith and his Sydney Roosters are now just one game away from winning the NRL Premiership after finishing at the bottom of the ladder just 12 months ago.
On Friday night the Chooks travelled to Suncorp Stadium to take on the favoured Titans, and despite a gritty start to the first preliminary final Sydney eventually opened the score up and flew away with a comprehensive 32 – 6 win in front of a monster 44,780 plus crowd.
The Gold Coast are now out of the competition with no more chances left to make their first Grand Final appearance.
The Roosters began their five-tries-to-one victory just 11 minutes in when winger Sam Perrett opened the scoring with a thrilling four-pointer converted by Dally M medallist Todd Carney so the visitors had an early six point advantage.
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It didn’t take long for the Titans to answer back with young William Zillman opening the home side’s account in the 19th minute after leaping onto a deft kick from skipper Scott Prince.
Zillman’s try was then converted by Prince to tie the score six all and the frantic fans in the crowd were expecting the game to continue in a similar try-for-try fashion.
Things were still close at the break as just one more first half try was scored when Perrett made it a match double in the 24th minute and Carney’s conversion pushed the Chooks into the lead 12 – 6.
But back for the second half Sydney quickly gained unstoppable momentum and outplayed the Titans.
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The Roosters ran in three more unanswered tries while also managing to stop the Gold Coast from posting any more points.
There was one moment that marred the Chook’s success when Carney was put on report for a careless high shot on Scott Prince.
But with a perfect previous record, Carney was later cleared to play in the Grand Final.
First ex-Titan Daniel Conn crossed in the 49th minute, followed by a 63rd minute four-pointer for skipper of the year Braith Anasta and with Carney booting two from two the Roosters had a comfortable 24 – 6 lead.
With a little over 15 minutes left on the clock the Gold Coast were still in with a chance, but couldn’t break through the Chooks line and time quickly ran out for them.
With two minutes left on the clock celebrations had already begun for Sydney, then a 78th minute penalty was awarded to Sydney that Carney kicked for an extra two points.
In the final seconds of the match the players started to shake hands with the result obvious, when Frank Paul Nuuausala snuck in a final try in the 80th minute to ice the cake for the Chooks.
The Roosters now face their toughest test of the season when they take on the Dragons at ANZ Stadium in this Sunday’s Grand Final. If you fancy the Chooks to cause another upset and go all the way then now is the time to jump on their odds at Ladbrokes.com.au!