A Latrell Mitchell try has saved the Sydney Roosters from embarrassment in their thrilling 24-22 NRL qualifying final win over Brisbane.
In a frantic final 11 minutes, the lead changed twice on Friday night as Brisbane came from nowhere before having their hearts broken in front of 21,212 at Allianz Stadium.
The Roosters were by far and away the better side and, at one point, looked like running away with it up 14-0 just before halftime but a Ben Hunt grubber-and-regather set up a grandstand finish at 18-16.
And when Benji Marshall kicked long for a 40-20, Blake Ferguson raked the ball infield and Corey Oates picked up the spoils to canter over to give his side the lead for the first time.
But just when the Roosters looked like they had turned belly up, Mitchell ran over the top of James Roberts to level the scores, before Michael Gordon booted the winner in what was one of the most-memorable finishes in recent finals history.
The Roosters will advance to the third week of the finals and are within one game of a grand-final appearance, while the Broncos will play the winner of the Penrith-Manly elimination final.
The Broncos were lucky to be in it at halftime and Luke Keary looked like he had delivered the coup de grace four minutes after the resumption to make it 18-6.
Wayne Bennett’s side hit back six minutes later when Kodi Nikorima sent Oates over in the corner to reduce the deficit to eight.
The Broncos were lucky to be in it after making six errors and completing 12 of 18 sets in the second half.
Earlier, the Roosters should have been up by more than 14-0 after Keary bombed a certain try when he failed to pass to an open Ryan Matterson and Isaac Liu dropped it just short of the line.
The Broncos looked rattled from the outset and, after Hunt threw his second forward pass of the game, Aidan Guerra strolled through a gaping hole.
When Boyd Cordner palmed off a lacklustre attempt at tackle by Adam Blair, the Roosters had their second and the Broncos had missed 18 tackles in 19 minutes.
The Roosters looked like heading into the second half with a healthy lead before James Roberts latched onto a Benji Marshall grubber to give the visitors a sniff at 14-6 only for the Roosters to stay composed in the clutch.