Roosters storm into NRL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters storm into NRL grand final

25/09/2010 06:48:31 AM Comments (0)

The rags-to-riches Sydney Roosters stormed into next weekend's NRL grand final with a thumping 32-6 victory over the Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

But Dally M winner Todd Carney faces an agonising wait to learn if he can play in the title decider after being placed on report for a high tackle on Titans half Scott Prince.

Carney caught a try-bound Prince flush in the head with a swinging arm, leaving the Gold Coast skipper groggy and requiring medical attention just before halftime.

Fortunately Carney - the feelgood story of the 2010 season after returning to the NRL following 12 months in exile - has no carry-over baggage which could save him if he cops a low grade charge.

But he will miss the grand final if he incurs more than 100 penalty points.

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith was the most recent NRL player denied a grand final after the judiciary outed him in 2008 for a grapple tackle.

The Roosters now have a chance to become the first team since Western Suburbs in 1934 to go from wooden spooners to premiers the following season and finally end veteran coach Brian Smith's title drought.

Smith lost back-to-back grand finals with St George in 1992-93, both times falling to Brisbane, and coached Parramatta to grand final defeat against Newcastle in 2001.

The Roosters led the Titans 12-6 in front of a big 44,787 crowd after a tense opening 40 minutes courtesy of two tries to right winger Sam Perrett.

Gold Coast cast-off Daniel Conn, released by the Titans last season, turned on his former club with a crucial try in the 49th minute which had more than an element of luck to give the visitors an 18-6 break.

Pearce's cut-out pass missed its mark but Conn took full advantage of a fortuitous bounce, running over the top of a gallant Preston Campbell, who put his 76kg body on the line against his 102kg rival.

Braith Anasta booked the Roosters' grand final ticket, crashing over for his eighth try of the season in the 62nd minute to extend the Roosters' lead to 24-6.

Perrett's two first-half tries in the 11th and 24th minutes put the Roosters on the road to grand final glory.

His opposite Kevin Gordon thought he had the opening try of the clash after soaring above Perrett in the left corner in fifth minute only to lose control of the ball centimetres from the ground.

Perrett made no mistakes when presented with the same opportunity six minutes later, plucking a radar-like Mitchell Pearce cross kick from Gordon's grasp.

Carney calmly slotted the difficult conversion for a 6-0 lead.

Gold Coast winger William Zillman was having an unhappy night until flying onto a perfectly weighted kick from Prince to score in the 19th minute and lock the scores up at 6-6.

Roosters winger Joseph Leilua did his best to roll Zillman onto his back but after several looks at the replay, video referee Bill Harrigan flashed up the green light to a roar from Titans fans.

The Titans were still in the game at the break but struggled to stop the Roosters' second-half roll behind their powerhouse pack.

Veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello was overjoyed to have helped the Roosters into a fifth grand final since 2000 - but first since losing to Anasta's Bulldogs in 2004.

"There again, it's a great feeling," Minichiello told the Nine Network. "It's a great bunch of guys. We're building to something special.

"We believed that we can win the comp from day one of pre-season if we put everything together and it's come together nicely for us."

But while Minichiello was celebrating, the former world player of the year's brother Mark was left shattered after finishing on the beaten Titans team.

"He'll be very disappointed with the way they went out tonight," Minichiello said.

"But they're a great club and I'm sure they'll be back bigger and better next year."

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