The Roosters look set to miss the finals for the first time since 2016 after the pre-season favourites were belted 30-16 by the Storm despite two tries to winger Daniel Tupou who is on the verge of becoming the club’s leading try scorer.
Trent Robinson’s side is four points outside the top eight with matches still to come against premiership heavyweights the Broncos, Eels and Rabbitohs, and they’ll likely need to win at least five of their seven matches to keep their finals streak alive.
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Sydney Roosters Press Conference | 07:55
It’s been a rough old year for the 14th-placed Roosters but for 50 minutes they took it to the Storm who struggled to contain them on the edges, only for two tries in three minutes to break the home side’s spirit.
The attacking woes that have plagued them all season brought them unstuck again with the Roosters saving face with a couple of late tries, but they’ve still only scored more points than the bottom-placed Wests Tigers.
Roosters fans will be wondering if the result would have been different had skipper James Tedesco not been rested, although Joseph Manu was solid at fullback and finished with more running metres than anyone else.
Things could get worse for the Tricolours with Victor Radley on report for a an illegal fend on Cameron Munster, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will likely receive a fine for an attempted trip on Harry Grant when he scored to make it 24-4.
Roosters finals hopes on the ropes | 04:37
X MARKS THE SPOT
The Storm were far from their best on Saturday night but ended up with two crucial competition points that will keep them inside the top four for another week thanks to a Xavier Coates hat-trick.
Melbourne struggled to produce anything in attack for the first 50 minutes but were saved by Coates who has been in elite try-scoring form with a couple of doubles in his previous three games.
The Queensland star has tormented the Roosters this season after he grabbed a hat-trick in their first meeting back in Round 6, and it was fitting that he opened the scoring at the SCG when he picked off a pass and ran 90 metres to score.
His second try was more fortuitous but there was nothing lucky about his third when he flew high to reel in a Munster kick.
Coates had strong support from Grant and Jahrome Hughes who both scored second-half tries as the Storm kicked away after half-time to give their for and against a handy boost.
MINI MEETS HIS MATCH
A horror night had one memorable moment for the Roosters with veteran winger Daniel Tupou equalling Anthony Minichiello’s club record for most tries.
The former Blues winger crossed for his side’s first points of the night to score his 138th try for the club, and then added his second in the final few minutes to draw level with Minichiello who played 302 games for the Roosters.
Tupou made his debut back in 2012, scored three tries in just his second game and has developed into one of the most reliable outside backs in the NRL.
He’s now just one try away from becoming the leading try-scorer for the foundation club.
Joey Manu replaces the rested James Tedesco as the Roosters host arch rivals the Storm in a blockbuster clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Joseph Suaalii returns form a head knock and has shifted to the centres for Manu, with Junior Pauga coming onto the wing.
Maroons prop Lindsay Collins will back up after Origin III, while hooker Brandon Smith returns from a thumb injury on the bench.
Starting hooker Jake Turpin and forward Egan Butcher are back on deck after also suffering head knocks.
For the Storm Harry Grant, Xavier Coates and Cameron Munster will back up after Origin.
Winger Will Warbrick has been named to return after picking up a head knock in Round 18, while Bronson Garlick is replaced on the bench by Alec MacDonald.
The 14th placed Roosters desperately need to win to keep in touch with the top eight, while the fourth placed Storm can lock up their top four spot with a victory.
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