Latrell Mitchell helped the Roosters secure a fifth preliminary final in six years. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
The Sydney Roosters are through to an NRL preliminary final for the fifth time in six years after downing the Cronulla Sharks 21-12 in the NRL qualifying final.
The Sharks struck early through flyer Valentine Holmes and took the lead once again shortly after half-time, but the Roosters closed out the game under the guidance of halfback Cooper Cronk in the final 10 minutes.
The Sharks lost backrower Wade Graham to a knee injury, and will need to rebound next week to face a Penrith Panthers side brimming with confidence after its 27-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors.
More to come.
Panthers knock out Warriors as RTS injures knee
Penrith has taken full advantage of a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck injury to claim a decisive 27-12 win over the Warriors and book a spot in next week’s NRL semi-finals.
The Warriors were down by two on Saturday when Tuivasa-Sheck was assisted from the field on the half-hour mark after suffering a suspected medial ligament injury.
Tuivasa-Sheck is considered a heavy contender to take out this year’s Dally M medal and the Warriors failed to recover from his exit in what was their first finals visit since 2011.
Panthers centre Tyrone Peachey nabbed his second try a minute later and from there the mountain men were never headed as they cruised to victory at the Olympic Stadium.
They now wait for the loser of the qualifying final between the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla.
Penrith were only up by six at halftime but, in their fourth straight set on the Warriors’ line, made it a two-try lead on Christian Crichton’s four-pointer in the 51st minute.
A Maloney field goal with 20 minutes on the clock killed the Warriors’ spirit, and Nathan Cleary put the finishing touches on the win with a penalty goal not long after.
Peachey finished with two tries, and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak also impressed at fullback.
Warriors star Shaun Johnson was noticeably quiet, while the defeat also marked the end of veteran Simon Mannering’s career.
It was a measured performance from the Panthers, who were again down on the scoreboard early but seized momentum on Tuivasa-Sheck’s injury.