5 moments of NRL brilliance that made Roosters vs Storm the season’s jewel

“That’s as good as it gets for a regular-season game.”

Storm captain Cameron Smith said what thousands of sports fans were thinking at the conclusion of Thursday night’s NRL blockbuster.

His side had just won a lead, lost it, went behind, tied again as time wound down, then won the game in extra time.

All within a miraculous 10-minute period.

And, fittingly, it was delivered in a fixture contested by rugby league’s two marquee sides (sorry, Brisbane).

That climax was punctuated by the kicking brilliance registered on the scoreboard: a conversion, penalty goals and field goals.

But it was the quiet moments of brilliance that made this match even more memorable.

Here are five of them.

Overloading the left grabs 20 metres

The score tied, 100 seconds to go, on their own 10-metre line … the Roosters had little to gain.

They would have to cover 60 metres in their set to have a reasonable shot at a field goal. And any mistake would gift the Storm a win.

But two plays changed the game.

The first brought Jake Friend, Luke Keary and James Tedesco together on the left side of the ruck.

The result? 20 metres secured, and a field goal in reach. Here’s how.

Field goal prep, and execution

The very next tackle — and the second last in the set — saw Nat Butcher swamped by three tacklers, 35 metres out.

Being held there meant a field goal attempt of 45 or so metres the following play … an absolute longshot.

But he found an offload to James Tedesco, who, directed by teammate Jake Friend, secured good position for a field goal attempt.

The attempt itself was a thing of beauty.

As Tedesco’s play-the-ball was close to the centre of the field, it allowed both Kyle Flanagan and Luke Keary to set themselves up as options.

Flanagan was the decoy even though he was located in the prime, central real estate.

Instead, Keary knocked it through, aided by the coverage and preparation of his teammates.

Short kick-off execution

The Storm were down by a point with 40 seconds to go.

Everyone knew the short kick-off was coming.

But Melbourne maximised their chances of success by getting 192cm Suliasi Vunivalu to compete for the ball and positioning themselves well for the scraps.

The surprise field goal

Another field goal attempt, another masterful execution.

Early in the set, with still time for a tackle or two before the siren, Cameron Smith teed up Ryan Papenhuyzen for the equaliser.

Smith kills off the game

Into extra-time now, and an unfortunate error from a groggy Boyd Cordner gave possession to the Storm in Roosters’ territory.

It left Melbourne in control, and a driving run forced a penalty from Roosters hooker Jake Friend.

“What a carry from Dale Finucane,” commentator Andrew Voss bellowed.

But it was actually Smith who made it.

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