The Sydney Roosters may have gone into the game as heavy favourites but the Melbourne Storm have proven that they can never be written off.
Without their influential playmaker Cameron Munster, the Storm still showed that they're very much a premiership force after completing one of the most thrilling come-from-behind golden point wins on Thursday night.
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In the midst of Victoria's coronavirus spike, the Storm began their Queensland road trip in crazy fashion, pulling off one of an extraordinary against-the-odds win against the two-time defending premiers at Suncorp Stadium.
After trailing by 10 points with less than 10 minutes remaining, Jerome Hughes and Paul Momirovski scored for the Storm to put them two points up with two minutes to play.
Roosters halfback Kyle Flanagan then kicked a penalty from a tough angle in the 78th minute to level things up before Luke Keary's field goal inside the final minute appeared to have sealed a Roosters' win.
However, the Storm sent the game into extra time when fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen snared his first career field goal with less than 10 seconds of the match remaining.
The ageless Cameron Smith then capitalised on a penalty against Roosters co-captain Jake Friend for a ruck infringement right in front of the posts to kick the winning goal in the 27-25 win.
The topsy-turvy encounter had so much drama and so many twists and turns, with one of the most frantic endings seen in a long time.
The incredible spectacle left viewers gobsmacked, with most agreeing that is was one of the finest matches ever played in the NRL.
It hit a new level in those closing five minutes - I mean two field goals in the final two minutes is just unthinkable. One of the best games I can ever remember— Daniel Hunt (@D_Hunt6) July 2, 2020
Just finished #NRLStormRoosters on slight delay. Hard to disagree with @AndrewVossy that “this game is from another universe”. And every match being live means I’ve now got an NRL obsessed five-year-old who bounces out of bed in anticipation four days a week, rugby ball in hand— Gareth Walker (@garethwalker) July 2, 2020
How good was Cam Smith at scrum-half? Unbelievable effort from the Storm.— Connor (@ConnorRobinson_) July 2, 2020
Both of those Field Goals were absolutely ridiculous.— The Rugby League Whisperer (@NRL_Oracle) July 2, 2020
This game is absolutely ridiculous.
I'm still trying to come to terms with it.
Long live Rugby League. #NRLStormRoosters
Ripper game, wasn't it - Bellamy just keeps bringing the youngsters through, got to love the Storm!— Blueboy (@yambaman1) July 2, 2020
Amazing amazing game of @nrl. Thank you @storm & @sydneyroosters. Storm won but there was no loser. Be incredibly proud of your efforts fellas. Morris twins and Cam Smith showed that age is just a number. God, I love RUGBA LEAGUEEE. #NRLStormRoosters #NRL @FOXNRLLive @NRLonNine— Paddy (@Paddy26301784) July 2, 2020
For Storm skipper Smith, the win is the 299th first-grade victory of his storied career, leaving many critics of his early season form eating their words.
"I was real proud of our blokes, like when we got 10 behind it would've been easy to say, 'well, we know what the calibre of the team we were playing tonight', they're head and shoulders above every team since we've come back from the break," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
"It would've been quite easy for our blokes to say, this has just been a bit hard tonight but to their credit they kept fighting.
"Perhaps we got a little bit lucky but at the end of the day you keep trying. Sometimes good things happen."
Roosters coach laments error count
Injury was added to insult for the Roosters in the extra period with Anthony Tupou (ankle) and Boyd Cordner (concussion) both escorted off the field.
Despite an attacking masterclass by the Morris brothers which had put the Roosters on the verge of a sixth-straight win, Roosters coach Trent Robinson said his team's high error rate had been their undoing.
"We fought well to get back up to 24-12 and then getting back to even and then kicking the field goal, conceding a field goal, like it was just, it was a great contest," Robinson said.
What just happened ⁉️ 🤯— Fox League (@FOXNRL) July 2, 2020
🔥 We've gone to golden point ‼️
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"Just too many errors on our part. Too many throughout the second half there ... just kept opening the door enough for them to get the win in the end."
Josh Morris's double and another to his brother Brett meant the pair have now notched a combined 301 tries at NRL level.
But their efforts were for nought when Hughes completed his double in the 71st minute to spark the Storm's comeback.
Melbourne take on Canberra at Campbelltown Stadium next weekend while the Roosters travel again to take on North Queensland in Townsville.