Everyone’s focus will be on the final play but the Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast Titans played out an enthralling contest in Townsville.
It was a Sam Walker field goal with just minutes to go that saw the Tricolours get the nod 25-24 over a resilient Titans side.
The Roosters are accustomed to finals footy but for the Titans, it was a new experience.
They were not overawed by the occasion, however, although were dealt a tough blow early on; for ten minutes anyway.
Tyrone Peachey was sin-binned early on for a professional foul and the Titans, who have been criticised for their defence previously, were able to hold on.
They were able to hold on then but the Roosters pressure was eventually telling.
Matt Ikuvalu showed his prowess when he scored in the corner to give the Roosters the lead, scoring yet again in Townsville.
James Tedesco then extended the lead as he sliced through and with two conversions, the Roosters went up 12-0.
The Titans needed something, anything, just to lift their confidence and it was an unlikely candidate in Beau Fermor.
Peachey, keen to make amends for his binning, floated across the field, grubbered and Fermor won the race to the ball.
12-6 looked better than 12-0 but the Roosters 12-point gap was soon restored when Daniel Tupou finished well in the corner off a Tedesco bat-on.
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui then put the Titans back in the contest when he was there to pounce on a ball batted back to score at the posts.
Needing a spark, the Titans would get it courtesy of Brian Kelly on the left flank.
Running at speed and with determination, he was able to break the Roosters defence 20 metres out and race away to score.
At 18-all, it was anyone’s game.
A smart short side play by Tedesco saw the Roosters take the lead again with veteran centre Josh Morris giving the Tricolours the lead again.
As luck would have it, the Titans were down but not out.
On their own line, Ikuvalu dropped a pass and Jarrod Wallace was there to pounce, burrowing his way over to score.
With the scores locked up and the game evenly poised, it was a fresh, exuberant Sam Walker who would ice the game with a clutch field goal.
The Titans had some chances late on to score and potentially win the game but it was not to be.
The narrow win pleased Roosters coach Trent Robinson but he knows his side has been imperfect and inconsistent so far this year.
“We have been imperfect this year and we are still searching for that game that we want but we have also learned to manage games to win them as well,” Robinson said.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook wants his side to learn from their mistakes and come back stronger in 2022.
“I am proud of the players for fighting all the way but we have been doing a lot of learning as the year has gone on and I thought we would have learned enough to take better options in certain circumstances and we didn’t tonight,” Holbrook said.
“It cost us the game.
“It is a massive learning curve and there is no harder learning curve than ending your season by a point.
“It is a big driving force for next year and we have got to get better. We have got to win those games.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. James Tedesco (SYD)
2. Beau Fermor (GLD)
1. Drew Hutchison (SYD)