NRL Grand Final: Sydney Roosters hit back to shock Manly Sea Eagles
Last Updated: October 6, 2013 1:45pm
Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello hoists the NRL trophy aloft
The Sydney Roosters claimed a comeback victory in the NRL Grand Final, beating Manly Sea Eagles 26-18 in Sydney on Sunday.
The Roosters scored three tries in the final 25 minutes of an absorbing derby clash to claim their 13th premiership title and book a date with Super League kings Wigan in next year's World Club Challenge.
The Sea Eagles had soared clear with two tries early in the second half to lead 18-8.
But dual international Sonny Bill Williams hauled the Roosters back into the game with a trademark offload to James Maloney that led to Kiwi international back Shaun Kenny-Dowall going over wide out.
Michael Jennings then won the chase for a Maloney grubber kick to ground the ball just inside the dead-ball line for the decisive try seven minutes from time.
Maloney also kicked five goals from five attempts.
Manly scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans was named the Clive Churchill Medal winner as man of the match.
Victory gave former Catalan Dragons coach Trent Robinson a premiership in his first season in charge of the Roosters. At 36, he is the youngest head coach in the NRL.
"I thought Manly's defence was on, like they do in these big games," Robinson said. "We had too many passes and ran away from the fight a little bit.
"As soon as we got out of that, we were in our game. That's the way we've played all year. We forgot it a bit in the first 20, but we did enough to get back on track and get the game done."