SYDNEY Roosters are the first back-to-back premiers of the NRL era after an epic 14-8 win over Canberra at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
The defending champions appeared on the ropes 10 minutes into the second half when playmaker Cooper Cronk was controversially sin-binned for tackling Canberra prop Josh Papalii without the ball, and Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker kicked the penalty goal to make it 8-all.
But the Roosters survived 10 minutes with 12 men and hit back in the 72nd minute with the game-breaking try, by champion fullback James Tedesco.
The last team to win consecutive premierships in a full competition were Brisbane in 1992-93. The Broncos also won the 10-team Super League title in 1997 and the inaugural NRL competition the following season.
The Roosters led 8-6 at half-time but it appeared Canberra had all the momentum.
The defending premiers benefited from a bizarre incident in the opening exchanges that gave them crucial possession and field position.
After Raiders prop Sio Soliola charged down a Roosters clearing kick, the ball rebounded and hit the Roosters trainer in the head. Referee Ben Cummins ruled that a scrum was required, with the Roosters to feed.
They proceeded to dominate until rookie hooker Sam Verrills darted over from dummy-half in the sixth minute. Latrell Mitchell's conversion and a further penalty goal in the 20th minute made it 8-0. But Canberra rallied in emphatic fashion and fought their way back into the contest.
Five-eighth and Clive Churchill medallist Jack Wighton capitalised in the 31st minute when he stepped through and dived over for his ninth try of the season. Croker converted, reducing the deficit to 8-6.
Croker equalised 10 minutes into the second half when Cronk was binned, but with the game in the balance the Roosters broke away against the run of play and Tedesco, the Dally M gold medallist, capped off the season of his life with the match-sealing try.