- POSTED: 06 Oct 2013 20:08
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The Sydney Roosters, lifted by Sonny Bill Williams, stormed home to overhaul Manly Sea Eagles and win Australia's National Rugby League grand final 26-18 in Sydney on Sunday.
SYDNEY: The Sydney Roosters, lifted by Sonny Bill Williams, stormed home to overhaul Manly Sea Eagles and win Australia's National Rugby League grand final 26-18 in Sydney on Sunday.
The Roosters powered home from 10 points down to score three tries in the final 25 minutes of an absorbing grand final to claim their 13th premiership title.
The Sea Eagles had looked on track to finish as the season's champions with two tries early in the second half to lead 18-8.
But dual rugby international Williams, who had been held in check by the Sea Eagles defence, broke the shackles with two line breaks to change the complexion of the match.
It was his trademark offload to standoff James Maloney that led to Kiwi international back Shaun Kenny-Dowall dashing over wide out.
Centre partner Michael Jennings thrillingly won a chase after a Maloney grubber kick to ground the ball just inside the dead-ball line for the clinching try seven minutes from time.
Maloney, who lost the 2011 NRL Grand Final to Manly when he was with the New Zealand Warriors, finished off a great match with five goals from five attempts.
Despite playing on the losing side, Manly scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans was named the Clive Churchill Medal winner as the player of the match.
Manly started the better of the two teams and Williams had the ball jolted loose in a tackle from his New Zealand Test teammate Kieran Foran inside his own quarter.
The Sea Eagles capitalised when they spread the ball in their next set of tackles to winger Jorge Taufua who scored in the left corner in the ninth minute.
Manly continued to pressure the Roosters and forced winger Daniel Tupou in goal in a three-man driving tackle to get a goal-line drop-out.
Skipper Jamie Lyon kicked a penalty in the 17th minute to stretch Manly's lead to 6-0.
But the Roosters hit back with a sensational try from Tupou, who outleaped opposite David Williams to pluck James Maloney's high kick for the right corner and score.
Maloney converted from the sideline and then kicked a penalty for the Roosters to lead 8-6 at half-time after a fiercely-fought opening half.