The Sydney Roosters put together a suffocating display, directed well by a one-armed Cooper Cronk, to blow out Melbourne Storm, 21-6 at a sold out ANZ Stadium on the last Sunday in September.
For a contest that had plenty of hype, narrative and emotion going into it. The game turned out to be a damp squib, Sydney Roosters produced a clinical display of football in the first half to shatter a Melbourne Storm side, that never were at the races tonight.
Sydney crossed three times in the first half to ensure they lifted the Telstra Premiership, with the insurance points from Luke Keary and Latrell Mitchell saw the realisation of the project the Roosters envisoned when they signed Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco in the off-season.
From the opening charge, the Roosters plundered through the Storm advantage line. Luke Keary, with a hobbled Cooper Cronk as his halves partner, took the principal role. The now, dual-premiership winner, laid on the first score, with a harbour bridge pass to Daniel Tupou. He also gave both Latrell Mitchell and Joseph Manu enough space to break open the contest, making it 18-nil at the break.
The five-eighth was awarded the Clive Churchill for his massive display. Keary had to put in a huge shift with his hobbled partner, he didn't put a step wrong until 62nd minute, with the intercept but a well deserved reward, for a guy that some speculated might be headed for the exit at Bondi.
Cronk and fullback, James Tedesco were brought to Bondi for this moment. The former didn't make a run, but his influence, directing the attack from behind the line brought calm to the Roosters attack. Tedesco was his typical elusive self in bringing back kick returns, and every touch looked like he was ready to burst through. The Roosters were ready tonight, for a team usually so well prepared, the Storm weren't.
The first 40 minutes might be the worst the Storm has played in a long time. They were on the back foot, fumbled the ball on multiple chances and the usually solid kicking game from Cameron Smith was off, the Roosters had them rattled. They threatened a slight comeback in the second half, when they started to find some space but bar Josh Addo-Carr's against the run of play intercept, the machine was creaky.
It wasn't the farewell, Billy Slater might have envisioned after he was cleared on Tuesday, but the diminutive fullback, has been a magnificent servant for the game of rugby league, with a trophy cabinet overflowing with honours, and can take a well-earned rest.