Storm skipper Cameron Smith has kicked a dramatic 38m field goal in the last minute of the match to secure a gutsy 9-8 win over the Roosters at Adelaide Oval tonight to secure the Storm's place in the Top 4 for this weekend.
The game was one for the purists and probably not ideal for the Adelaide crowd, with just two tries for the match and the first coming after almost an hour of play. However the South Australians can't complain about the contests between the two combatants, with consecutive one point thrillers after Mitchell Pearce's field goal heroics in Golden Point last year and now the tables have been turned this year with Smith providing the heroics tonight at the newly re-developed Adelaide Oval in front 17,728 fans.
NSW star Latrell Mitchell had a huge opportunity to take the field goal out of the equation with 12 minutes remaining, but the young gun spectacularly hit the right hand upright of a penalty attempt from right in front of the sticks, which would have given the Roosters the lead. Cooper Cronk also had the chance to play the hero for the Roosters against his former club, but his shot was charged down by former teammate Ryan Hoffman, who then made an urgent dash to dive and re-gather the ball in what turned out to be a game changing play, with Cameron Smith being able to convert his chance off the next set.
Both coaches won't be thrilled with their sides performances, but coming off the back of Origin II, in hindsight it was likely that both sides would likely show signs of fatigue given the amount of representative stars backing up from another brutal Origin encounter on Sunday night. The Roosters will also be sweating on scans for their Queenland representative Dylan Napa who left the field limping badly after a below the knees tackle from Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona seemed to jar the Roosters prop's knee. The firebrand prop will have scans tomorrow on a possible medial ligament injury.
The Adelaide crowd came to see some tries but those that did their research may have realised that both these sides were the two best defensive sides coming into tonight's game and the first half panned out that way, with both sides refusing to take the two points early despite multiple penalties from both sides defending their own line. The game of chicken finally ended when the Roosters' Latrell Mitchell elected to take the gift two points after nearly half an hour of play and was quickly followed by Storm skipper Cameron Smith who evened up the score just eight minutes later and unfortunately for the Adelaide Rams' faithful there were no early tries and it was 2 all at the break.
After the break, the defensive display from both sides continued until Roosters went down a man after backrower Victor Radley found himself in the Sin Bin after a high shot on Storm prop Christian Welch. It was Radley's third penalty given away in the match and the officials had enough sending the Clovelly Crocodiles junior for a spell. To their credit, the Roosters did well to keep possession in Radley's absence but couldn't quite hold on, when Asofa-Solomona crashed over under the posts off a clever ball from dummy half pass from Smith to open the scoring for the night after almost an hour of play.
The Roosters hit back almost immediately, when Blues fullback James Tedesco put winger Daniel Tupou in some space and the giant winger looked set to score until an amazing cover tackle from Storm back Jahrome Hughes who managed to strip the ball as Tupou looked set to score, saving a certain try. Tedesco then set his sights to the other side of the field, injecting himself into the backline to put rookie centre Matt Ikuvalu over for his first NRL try and with Mitchell converting from the sideline it set up a grandstand finish at 8 all with 15 minutes remaining.
It wasn't to be for the Tricolours, with Mitchell's missed penalty opportunity and Cameron Smith's long range field goal getting the Storm home for a valuable win for Craig Bellemy's men.
The Storm now head back to Melbourne, where they will face competition leaders the St George Dragons at AAMI Park in an absolute blockbuster to open Round 17. The Roosters now have the week off with the Bye to coincide with Origin III and then have a long lay-off until they play the Titans on the Gold Coast in Round 18.