Cameron Smith made no mistake with an 84th-minute penalty to seal the win for the Sunshine Coast’s new residents and end the tricolours’ five-match winning streak.
Jake Friend was pinged for shoving Dale Finucane at the play-the-ball.
As Brad Fittler summed it up in the Nine commentary: “It was an amazing finish to an amazing game.”
If ever there was an argument for two teams going home with one point each, this was it.
The Roosters did their best to throw this game away as they continually dropped the ball in the second half.
Their completion rate was dreadful and it was only some moments of magic from Brett and Josh Morris that kept the scoreboard ticking over.
“It was a great contest, but there were just too many errors on our part,” said Robinson, whose side completed eight from 18 in the second half.
“We just kept opening the door enough for them to get the win in the end.
“For 72 minutes we conceded two tries off our own errors, and I thought we were staunch the whole game. We worked really hard.”
While little will separate these two heavyweights again this year, one thing that did become clear was the need to re-sign the Morris twins.
The first thing Roosters boss Nick Politis should do on Friday morning is get the Morris twins on the phone and convince them to sign one-year extensions.
Brett set up the Roosters’ first try, scored one himself and was defensively brilliant, dominating NSW Origin and Kangaroos flyer Josh Addo-Carr all night and belting his share of opponents into touch.
He also broke into a decent gallop late in the second half that eventually led to Josh’s second try.
Josh finished with a double and also had a hand in Brett’s four-pointer.
Phil Gould enjoyed repeating the term ”Morris to Morris to Morris” during the Nine commentary.
“Surely not,” was Andrew Johns response when asked if the Morris twins, 34 next month, were finishing at the end of the year.
“They’re doing plenty of finishing tonight,” Gould said.
“When we do the man-of-the-match award, make sure you have the two Morris boys standing side by side.”
Robinson said of the siblings with more than 300 NRL tries between them now: “When you get half or three-quarters of an opportunity they’ll make it an opportunity and score a try. Their defensive work was very good as well. They’re a class act.”
There were some brief question marks about the Roosters’ potency without Victor Radley and Sam Verrills. Daniel Tupou picked up an ankle injury late while courageous captain Boyd Cordner came from the field with concussion from what Robinson not-so-subtly described as a ”head slam”.
Time will tell if they board the plane to Townsville next Thursday.
The Storm were without Cameron Munster because of his own knee injury, and had Smith starting his first game in the halves since 2014.
Both sets of fans would have gone to bed knowing their sides will go close to featuring again in the last weekend of October.
Melbourne will take plenty of confidence out of the gritty win with few stoppages as they prepare for a trip to Canberra next Saturday night.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy was delighted with the victory given the ”topsy-turvy week” of having to relocate from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast.
“Having said that, we haven’t moved to the moon, and the Sunny Coast is a nice spot to be,” Bellamy said.
“It was ultra physical, especially that first half. It was a real arm wrestle around the 20m lines.
“I was proud of our blokes. When we were 10 points behind it would have been easy to say, ‘we know the calibre of this team we’re playing, they’ve been head and shoulders above every team since we’ve come back from the break’, but to their credit they kept fighting.”
Nat Butcher stepped out in Radley’s No. 13 jersey and was crunched by Storm centre Justin Olam in the opening minutes. The only shot that was better in the first half was Tino Faasuamaleaui, who went low on a fresh Lindsay Collins.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.