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Brave Roosters Unable to Overcome Storm in Semi

The Sydney Roosters 2023 season has come to a close after falling to the Melbourne Storm 18-13 following an 80-minute arm wrestle at AAMI Park.

Trent Robinson's men overcame an early deficit to take the lead in the 71st minute courtesy of another Sam Walker field goal, with Terrell May stepping up to make 18 runs for 129 run metres, breaking seven tackles and making four offloads to truly inspire the Tricolours in attack.

But ultimately, the contest came down to the final minute, when Will Warbrick claimed the match-winning try to carry Melbourne into the prelim after snatching a Cam Munster kick in the corner. 

Neither team was able to generate early momentum, with nerves resulting in errors from young forwards from both sides. 

Ill-discipline cruelled the Tricolours in the seventh minute, with stand-in Storm halfback Tyran Wishart splitting the defence with a dummy and leaping into the in-goal for first points following a penalty. Nick Meaney's conversion attempt waved away, leaving Melbourne with a four-point lead. 

After fighting to stay in the contest, the Roosters were granted some breathing space after successfully challenging a knock-on call against Jaxson Paulo, with video footage demonstrating the ball brushed the winger's face instead of his hand. 

But the hosts took the opportunity to extend their lead to six with a Meaney penalty goal in the 17th minute after Victor Radley was cited for a high tackle. 

With the Storm continuing to deny the Roosters any field position, Trent Robinson's men looked to capitalise off another error from Josh King to creep their way beyond the 50-metre line. 

Although their momentum was short-lived, as clear knock-on by Harry Grant was not called, leaving the Roosters to defend once again. 

In the same set, the hosts received a penalty for holding down and applied further pressure through multiple offloads to set up Marion Seve for their second try off a left-edge overlap. Meaney's conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the Storm with a 10-point advantage.

The Roosters then managed to produce back-to-back sets, with monumental runs from Paul Momirovski and Fletcher Baker laying the platform for Brandon Smith to catch the defence napping around the ruck for a clever try in the 33rd minute.

Sam Walker reduced the deficit to four with a superb conversion from medium range.

Smith Stands Up

From that moment the Roosters clicked into gear, with metre-eating runs challenging the Storm defence into the break. 

The hosts opened the second-half with intent, as Captain Christian Welch intercepted a pass and raced 40 metres, but the Storm were unable to convert their opportunity with a kick from Cameron Munster shut down by Fletcher Baker.

James Tedesco stepped up to make a textbook try-saving tackle on Tom Eisenhuth a couple of minutes later after Harry Grant unleashed the forward with a crafty play around the ruck.

The Storm extended their tally to 12 with another Meaney penalty goal after Paul Momirovski was deemed to have clipped Munster high. 

Injected into the contest, young utility Sandon Smith provided the spark with an incredible run out of dummy half to carry the Roosters upfield finding Victor Radley with an offload.

Collins Owns the Big Moments

Scooping the ball out of dummy half, the Central Coast junior floated a brilliant pass to a lone Lindsay Collins who crossed uncontested before Walker's kick levelled the scores.

Walker nailed a field-goal in the 71st minute to give the Roosters a one-point advantage just as he did in the previous week against Cronulla. 

Walker slots the field goal

The Storm's attempts to level the scores went astray, before Will Warbrick latched onto a kick from Munster in the 78th minute to secure the hosts a spot in the preliminary final. 

Sydney Roosters 13 (Brandon Smith, Lindsay Collins tries, Sam Walker 2 goals, Sam Walker field goal) def by Melbourne Storm 18.

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.