A juicy ANZAC Day double header gave fans plenty to cheer for with a tremendous double header.
The Roosters and Dragons produced a huge result in their traditional April 25 clash with Sydney coming out on top before the Melbourne Storm claimed an absolute thriller against the gallant New Zealand Warriors.
Conspiracy rages after Storm escape
The Melbourne Storm have stayed with the Sydney Roosters on the top of the ladder, overcoming an injury ravaged New Zealand Warriors 13-12.
The Warriors led most of the game in the close clash with a 12-10 lead for much of the second half.
But post-game, social media blew up with a conspiracy theory which gave the Storm the win.
With just under five minutes left, Storm prop Jesse Bromich looked for a quick play-the-ball and seemed to drop the ball, only for the home side to get a penalty 20m out in front of the goals.
After the scores were level, Brodie Croft then kicked a stunning field goal from 40m out, bouncing it in off the post.
— NRL (@NRL) April 25, 2019
But fans were less than impressed with the call in the play-the-ball, with some calling a conspiracy that Bromich was awarded a penalty to help the Storm get out of jail.
Channel 9 commentator Paul Vautin helped fuel the conspiracy claims, calling it a “dicey” call.
“I really feel for the Warriors, they should have won it but it’s an 80 minute game,” he said.
James Bracey asked “was it a penalty?”
“It was very dicey,” Vautin replied. “There are about 10 of those a game.”
Johnathan Thurston also let rip on the call.
“No way,” he started. “We’ve seen those go all year and the last couple of years. The referees are allowing that in the game, the boys holding on and slowing the play the ball down. He’s got to play it correctly.”
Former Storm star Billy Slater backed Melbourne, arguing it was hard to come down on the referees for a 50-50 call.
But social media was confident the fix was in.
I greatly admire the @storm’s professionalism… but geez… they get a truck-load of 50-50 calls go their way every week. Enough to see them make the finals every year and keep “key market” Melbourne interested. #conspiracytheory #NRLStormWarriors
— Craig Norenbergs (@CraigNorenbergs) April 25, 2019
And further to this, the penalty at the end to level things up was a quick play the ball gone wrong. No way was it a penalty. Really hars to cop at the end of a strong arm wrestle of a game. #NRLStormWarriors https://t.co/yJU4IigkIA
— Matt Attard (@mattard90) April 25, 2019
Always uplifting to watch the Storm wrangle their way to one-point victory – particularly with a rock-solid penalty in the dying stages after they’ve managed to slow down the play-the-ball for each and every one of the previous 89 minutes.
— neen (@Janine__Graham) April 25, 2019
Conspiracy time! Not really an unpopular opinion but the NRL definitely allow the Storm to get away with everything because they need rugby league to be somewhat strong in Victoria
— God (@RugbyLeagueGod) April 25, 2019
Massive conspiracy. Whenever the storm are behind the referees help them get back into the game 😡
— Anthony Consuela (@Consuel2Anthony) April 25, 2019
— Ed Jackson (@edjacko) April 25, 2019
On Fox League, Brett Finch said it was a spray at halftime that got the Storm home — but not just from Craig Bellamy.
“I was in the sheds at halftime and it was a good old fashioned Craig Bellamy spray,” Brett Finch said on Fox League.
“But let me tell you, before the coach could get to them, the captain Cameron Smith addressed his team and gave them a serve.”
Earlier the Storm hit back after a sluggish start, closing the gap on the fast starting Warriors.
The visitors hit the lead through a penalty goal before a rampaging Adam Blair charged onto a ball from Tohu Harris on the last tackle.
Outside of the try, he had a horror game with the try the only score of his night.
But the Storm are never going to let an opposition team get away with a “genius move” from Josh Addo-Carr to knock the ball back for Cameron Munster to get the Storm on the board.
— NRL (@NRL) April 25, 2019
The second half started with a try to Jahrome Hughes was followed up almost immediately by Ken Maumalo to set up the lead close lead.
The Warriors have held on with desperation defence, holding the Storm at bay.
It ruined Sam Thaiday’s prediction for the second half — or should we say the seagulls’ prediction.
“What I want to talk about the seagulls,” Thaiday said early in the second half.
“Seagulls use a ray of sounds and noises and body language to talk and communicate with each other. You know what the seagulls told me? The Melbourne Storm will score 18 points in the second half. Watch out, here they come.”
Vautin was savage in response.
“Seriously, did he have 10 schooners at halftime, Sam,” he said. “He’s just made that up.”
Fatty’s not having any of Sammy’s seagull chat. 😂😂😂
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) April 25, 2019
Bloody casualty in ANZAC war
Sydney Roosters forward Angus Crichton has come off second best with a horrific nose injury but the star has helped his side to a famous 20-10 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Crichton put his body on the line, slowing rampaging Dragons fullback Matt Dufty, holding on for dear life to the back of his jersey as he was dragged into a teammate’s knee.
It was indicative of the tough, never-give-up brand of football fans have become used to in the traditional ANZAC clash.
Several players were out on their feet as they gave everything in the game.
Even Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner admitted it was what everyone has come to expect on the day.
“It was a tough battle mate, it always is mate on ANZAC Day against the Dragons,” Cordner said.
Before the game, NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler was on Macquarie Sports Radio arguing it’s not hard to get up for the big games.
“It’s a great week to learn a bit of history, over the years some of the great soldiers including a few VC medallists come in and talk to the players and give some of the realities of what goes on over there,” Freddy said this morning.
“The standard is always high because there’s no excuse for lack of effort, you’ve just been told about all these wonderful things these people did to protect our country and what we believe in, so a sore shoulder of a lack of effort doesn’t cut it.”
The Roosters were all over the Dragons in the first half but only led 14-0 with both sides denied tries.
While it looked like the Roosters may run away with it, the Dragons dug deep and took it to the defending premiers in the second half.
Dragons winger Zac Lomax has put a first half denial behind him to open the scoring in the second half against the Roosters.
Despite both sides getting over the line multiple times each, it was the Dragons’ first try making it 14-4 just after halftime.
Lomax held his position and as the ball went through the hands, he finished a winger’s special, diving over in the corner.
The Dragon then scored again to go within four points with Matt Dufty cutting through the middle to score an absolute stunner next to the posts.
Fans were blown away by Dufty, who showed quick feet to race away for the try.
Stop the contest. That’s the try of the season. #NRLRoostersDragons
— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) April 25, 2019
MATTHEW CORNELIUS DUFTY #NRLRoostersDragons
— Dan Condon (@doncandon) April 25, 2019
Before halftime, Latrell Mitchell scored in the 17th minute after a precision cross field kick by Cooper Cronk to give the Roosters an 8-0 lead.
— NRL (@NRL) April 25, 2019
Crichton then backed up Mitchell, scoring after a huge Jake Friend 40/20, taking a barnstorming run straight over Corey Norman to score the Roosters second.
Robinson praises Roosters hooker ahead of Origin tussle
Trent Robinson has praised Jake Friend as the ultimate team man as the Sydney Roosters rake gets set to push his State of Origin claims against rival Ben Hunt.
The Roosters No. 9 will make a timely return from a shoulder injury in their NRL blockbuster against St George Illawarra on Thursday.
While Friend won’t face off directly against Dragons No.7 Hunt, they are considered the two most likely contenders for the Queensland dummy-half role this year.
And they’ll meet on biggest stage of the regular season, the traditional Anzac Day clash at the SCG, with Maroons coach KevinWalters sure to be an interested onlooker.
With incumbent Maroons hooker Andrew McCullough struggling in an underperforming Brisbane side, the door is ajar for Friendto make his Origin debut in 2019. “It’s hard to explain,” Roosters coach Robinson said of the workhorse No.9’s influence on the defending premiers.
“You have to watch close up of the details that he does in the game and watch the work that he does around the other guys.
“He does his job. And he’s the No.1 guy in our team that looks to do other people’s job if they need a hand. That’s the ultimate teammate.” Despite making his Test debut in 2016, 29-year-old Noosa product Friend has never been able to break into Queensland side.
He was considered a contender following Cameron Smith’s representative retirement last year but was overlooked for McCullough.
Robinson said Friend never kicked stones after that setback as he went on to lead the club to a grand final win.
“I think Jake’s emotional expression is very similar to mine. He’s very expressive,” Robinson said with a wry smile.
“Jake gets on with the job.”