The Sydney Roosters have booked a home preliminary final in the Harbour City after a 24-22 win in a thriller over Brisbane at Allianz Stadium tonight.
Brisbane looked to have claimed a comeback win just five minutes from fulltime when Blake Ferguson calamitously attempted preventing a 40/20, flicking a sideline-bound ball back infield where a waiting Corey Oates scooped it up and scored untouched to take the visitors in the lead for the first time in the contest.
It started much better for the Roosters - Aidan Guerra opened proceedings just minutes after an Isaac Liu try was denied in the opening 15 minutes. Guerra's efforts were doubled by captain Boyd Cordner soon after and suddenly, add a penalty goal to Michael Gordon and the hosts were up 14-0 inside the half hour.
To save face the Broncos did manage an important pre-halftime try when James Roberts crossed in the 37th minute, latching onto a Benji Marshall kick to get his side on the scoreboard.
The Roosters grabbed the first try of the second forty when Luke Keary cut through shortly after the break, but the away side hit back again to reduce the margin to eight with Oates scoring his first try of the evening.
Trailing 18-10 the Broncos grinded away at their opponents before they hit the accelerator inside the final fifteen minutes. Ben Hunt kicked for himself from dummy half and was first to the ball to bring the margin down to two in the 69th minute, then a couple of minutes later, Ferguson's moment of horror got the visitors ahead through Oates' second.
The Bondi boys knew the contest wasn't in any way over and only trailed 22-18 for a brief couple of minutes until Latrell Mitchell scored one of the great individual tries, palming off several defenders to propel the Tricolours back into the lead after Michael Gordon's conversion set the scoreline to 24-22.
Brisbane valiantly tried to press home for victory with James Roberts coming within a metre of latching onto a final second grubber but the Roosters held on for a two-point win, subsequently booking themselves a home preliminary final at either Allianz or ANZ Stadium in a fortnight, where they'll face one of four clubs - Melbourne, Parramatta, Cronulla or North Queensland.
Wayne Bennett's Broncos will lick their wounds and head back home for an knockout semi next weekend at Suncorp Stadium where they'll host the winner of tomorrow's elimination final between Manly and Penrith.