NRL fans and commentators were left holding their breath for Victor Radley on Friday night after the Roosters forward started convulsing on the field after a heavy head knock.
The NRL finals appeared to start early at AAMI Park, with the Roosters locking up their top-eight spot after holding on for a 18-14 win over Melbourne in a fiery and drama-filled classic.
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The wounded Roosters spoiled the regular-season farewell for Storm stalwarts Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Brandon Smith in Melbourne to secure their seventh-straight win.
However the victory didn't come without cost after Daniel Tupou limped off early with a groin issue and Radley was heavily concussed in frightening scenes.
Radley appeared to be convulsing while lying on the ground after his head collided with Jesse Bronwich's hip in a sickening collision.
The Roosters forward was taken from the field on a medicab before it was reported that he was sitting up and talking in the dressing rooms.
In positive signs, Radley was able to return to the field after full-time to mingle with his teammates.
“He remembers the whole game, except for the tackle,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said afterwards.
“It didn’t look good on the field.”
— Roast (@thenrlroast) August 26, 2022
Nevertheless, the frightening scenes left viewers horrified.
“These are disturbing scenes, his wellbeing is the concern now," Dan Ginnane said on Fox League.
That was absolutely horrible to watch. I hope he’s ok. No one ever wants to see that #NRLStormRoosters
— Peter Hooley (@PeterHooley12) August 26, 2022
Been a long time since I’ve seen something on a footy field that has made me feel crook.
Best thoughts to Victor Radley #NRLStormRoosters
— QUENTIN HULL (@QuentinHull) August 26, 2022
Victor Radley showed signs of convulsing/seizuring after suffering a concussion there. Despite the graphic nature of the incident the presence of immediate convulsions is not associated with adverse results (via scans/recovery time) or risk of future seizures. Hope he is OK
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) August 26, 2022
Jesus, I hope Radley is ok. That was harrowing to watch.
— Steven Russo (@russos1991) August 26, 2022
Radley convulsing out there. That was awful. Very heavy knock he took. #NRLStormRoosters
— Greg Prichard (@gregprichard) August 26, 2022
Hate to see anyone knocked that loopy and then convulse in such a manner. Let alone on a footy field.
Fingers crossed for Victor Radley.#nrlstormroosters
— Steve Hocking (@skippersteve86) August 26, 2022
That was one of the most frightening things I've seen on a footy field. Thoughts with Victor Radley and his family.#NRLStormRoosters
— Jimmy Shaw (@SAFCKiwi) August 26, 2022
Huge concerns for Roosters after win over Melbourne
The incident with Radley is still a major concern for the Roosters because it was his second concussion of the season after he suffered a big hit in round one.
Lindsay Collins, in his first game back from concussion, was also placed on report for an apparent hip-drop tackle on Tom Eisenhuth in the dying minutes.
Tupou opened the scoring with a try in the left corner, but his joy was short-lived.
The Roosters winger left the field less than 10 minutes later with a groin injury, casting doubt on his availability for the finals.
The 31-year-old has a history of groin issues and Robinson admitted the injury was a major concern for the Roosters.
The game was an explosive encounter in front of 25,308 fans as the Roosters ensured they would play in the finals for the sixth-straight season.
Robinson's team silenced the parochial Melbourne crowd after charging out to a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes.
But when Nick Meaney scored in the 65th minute it gave the Storm faithful hope they could lock up a top-four spot before an away showdown with Parramatta in the final round next week.
Melbourne made several late bursts as they tried to pinch the lead for the first time in the game, but the Roosters bravely defended their line, including a game-saving effort from superstar fullback James Tedesco.
"It's not always pretty but you've got to be desperate and you have to come up with try savers to win big games and none more critical than that," Robinson said.
"We had to play in a different way tonight but proud of the way the guys went about it."
A dramatic night took another turn when Storm coach Craig Bellamy fell ill with a migraine and was replaced in the post-game press conference by senior assistant Stephen Kearney.
"The Roosters got away to a really good start and we didn't help ourselves there," Kearney said.
"We had our opportunities, we probably weren't quite good enough and I thought the Roosters did a really good job."
The Storm will head to CommBank Stadium on Thursday night against the Eels, with the winners securing a top-four spot and the losers going into an elimination final.
Meanwhile, the Roosters will host South Sydney in a blockbuster re-opening of Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
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