Mon, Oct 1, 12:32pm by Staff Writer
The Sydney Roosters won their first NRL Grand Final since 2012 with a 21-6 win against the Melbourne Storm last Sunday night.
The Roosters were clinical from the outset, making few errors and taking more metres than their more fancied counterparts.
Latrell Mitchell returned from suspension to kick the first penalty goal of the game after three minutes to give the Tricolours a 2-0 lead.
Daniel Tupou got around some poor Melbourne defence after Suliasi Vunivalu knocked on a high ball, gifting the Roosters another six tackles.
The veteran scored out wide to give the Roosters a 6-0 lead, which soon doubled.
Latrell Mitchell attacked the Storm’s left side defence that was poor all night and scored out wide again, giving them a 12-0 advantage.
Melbourne looked out of sorts from kick off, with dropped ball and errors costing them possession and territory.
They had few attacking opportunities in the first half, but when they did, they struggled to complete or finish their sets.
They kicked the ball dead in goal on three occasions in the first half, gifting the Roosters field position.
A turning point in the match came in the 30th minute, when Jake Friend burst out of his own half to run 50 metres before being chased down by Storm defenders.
Five-eighth Cameron Munster had a second effort on Friend, denying him the opportunity for a quick play the ball.
The Storm talisman was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes and the Roosters slotted a penalty goal to lead 14-0.
The pain wasn’t over yet for the Storm, when centre Joseph Manu dotted down in the 37th minute, they went into half time lead 18-0.
Melbourne had it all to do in the second half and needed a near perfect final 40 minutes to snatch the Premiership away from the Roosters.
They received an early penalty in the second half, but just as they did so often in the first half, dropped the ball when they were looking to attack and surrendered possession.
Cameron Munster looked to have crossed for the Storm’s first try in the 50th minute before it was ruled out for obstruction.
The Origin and Australian half then had the ball stripped when he was nearly over the line, summing up Melbourne’s fortunes.
The team from Victoria finally crossed after Josh Addo-Carr took an intercept and ran 80 metres, but it was too little too late.
Luke Keary nailed a field goal and Latrell Mitchell added a late penalty, after Cameron Munster was sin binned for a second time after kicking Joseph Manu.
The Roosters finished minor premiers in 2018 and are favourites to win the 2019 premiership, priced at $5.
They add South Sydney’s Angus Crichton to an already loaded forward pack and will be heard to beat in 2019.
The Brisbane Broncos have confirmed that Wayne Bennett will be coaching the team in 2019 and they are $7 to win the premiership.
They have not tasted premiership success since 2006 in what is the longest premiership drought for the proud club.
Melbourne is $8 to win the premiership after finishing the season in second spot this season. They lose Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffman to retirement and lacked composure in the halves during the Grand Final. There are also question marks as to whether or not Cameron Smith will play on next season.
South Sydney impressed many this season and were flag favourites at one point. They are $9 to win the competition next season.
Cronulla finished in the top four in 2018 before losing to the Storm in the preliminary finals. They are $13 to win the competition in 2019 along with the Penrith Panthers.
Penrith have underachieved given the strength of their roster in recent times and will be looking for a top four berth at a minimum in 2019.
The New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders are priced at $15 and $17 respectively, with the former featuring in the finals for the first time this season since 2011. The Raiders have a number of changes to their roster ahead of the 2019 season that are much needed in the nation’s capital.
2019 NRL Premiership Odds
Sydney Roosters $5
Brisbane Broncos $7
Melbourne Storm $8
South Sydney Rabbitohs $9
Cronulla Sharks $13
Penrith Panthers $13
St George Illawarra $13
New Zealand Warriors $15
Canberra Raiders $17
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