Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Sydney Roosters beat Canberra Raiders to win NRL Grand Final

Josh Hodgson of the Raiders and inset with his brother Nathan Josh Hodgson of the Raiders and inset with his brother Nathan
Adrian Cunningham | 09 October, 2019, 14:22

But Dally M player of the year, Tedesco, ensured Cronk got the flawless send-off by finishing a devastating 72nd-minute counter-attack which made the Roosters the first side to win back-to-back titles in a unified Australian competition since Brisbane Broncos in 1992 and 1993.

Up 8-6, a try would have put the Roosters behind the eight-ball and with a split-second reaction, the hit was necessary to hold the rampaging Raiders at bay.

The Roosters won the Grand Final 14-8.

Croker pulled his side level with a penalty in the second half following the sin-binning of Cooper Cronk on his final appearance before retiring.

It was Cronk's ninth grand final and sixth premiership.

While the rule was widely criticised, the Raiders remained in touch at 8-6 after Clive Churchill Medal victor Wighton stepped off his left foot to bamboozle Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner.

It is a hard one to soak in first time being here. Everything was against us, Cooper [Cronk] getting sent to the bin in his last game, we were under the pump that whole second half.

"But if they had not corrected the decision and the Raiders had scored, I'd probably still be sitting here telling you a try had been scored off an incorrect decision".

This was Cronk's final game of rugby league - and his third successive grand final win.

The Roosters were tough without Cronk giving up just a penalty goal in the 10 minutes he was off.

But the game was turned on its head when Cronk was sensationally sin binned in the 50th minute for a professional foul in his final game.

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Thurston also suggested Cronk should be seen as one of the great halfbacks while Phil Gould and Darren Lockyer admitted his incredible record set Cronk apart.

Timing is everything in a grand final.

While it was far from the biggest controversy of the night in the end, the 10 minutes without Cronk was what the Roosters' premiership was built on.

Players on both sides agreed he was the right pick for the medal, as did Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

It was the first time any club had gone back to back in a united competition since Brisbane in 1992-93.

George Williams, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton could be playing against Wigan early next year following Canberra's Grand Final defeat.

Tedesco seized on the mistake to turn the game for the Roosters.

The sell-out crowd of 82,922 was filled with green as Raiders fans sat in hope. They're a club built on sustained success and consistent victory.

Rivals may hate the Roosters but you've got to respect them.

He instructed his halves partner Luke Keary to "Hang on, hang on for me", which the Roosters did.

The pre-game atmosphere was extraordinary when around 60,000 fans participated in the Viking Clap.