By Josh Alston For Daily Mail Australia
22:37 15 Sep 2023, updated 22:37 15 Sep 2023
- Storm won a thrilling final against Sydney
- In the AFL, Carlton won at the death against the Demons
- One Storm star appeared very invested in the AFL clash
His side had just escaped with a memorable NRL finals win but Melbourne Storm star Christian Welch appeared just as concerned about cross-town AFL club Melbourne Demons last night.
A slice of Cameron Munster brilliance laid on the winning try to Will Warbrick as the Storm prevailed 18-13 against a gutsy Roosters outfit with both sides missing plenty of quality players through injury.
It means the Storm now face a tough assignment against Penrith in their preliminary final in Sydney to reach another grand final.
In the post-match media conference, coach Craig Bellamy was discussing injury concerns at the club with Welch seated beside him.
But the Storm forward’s mind seemed miles away from the NRL match he had just won, with somebody off camera appearing to feed him information about the Demons v Blues AFL match that was being played at the same time.
A serious-looking Welch raised his head and then mouthed the words ‘they lost?’ to an unseen person off camera.
He then shook his head and looked down in disappointment.
Eagle-eyed NRL fans noticed the moment and called the moment ‘classic’ and ‘all-time’.
‘That’s why Welch is so loved. Kick ass player but just a great character of the game. Would love him at the dragons,’ one fan posted.
‘Eyes on the prize at all times. We’re all footy fans. Even the players,’ added another.
The Storm’s 18-13 win over the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park to advance to the preliminary final against Penrith next Friday night was in no small part due to Munster’s desire and skill.
His pinpoint 79th-minute cross-field kick for Warbrick to snatch a remarkable catch and score was pure Munster magic.
The Storm were far from their best but they found a way against the Roosters.
Munster made 128 metres from 17 runs but it was some of his defensive work in the second half that was decisive.
The 2017 and 2020 premiership winner smashed Angus Crichton and Sam Walker, made a try saver on Victor Radley and then pulverised Siua Wong late to force an error.
He also missed tackles, ran around like a headless chook and got frustrated at times – but when panic could have set in he provided the magic to get Melbourne home.
Munster and hooker Harry Grant were disgusted with the way they played the previous week in the 26-0 qualifying loss to Brisbane.
Without injured half Jahrome Hughes both needed to aim up and they provided crucial try assists in each half.
Munster had warned he wouldn’t have two bad games in a row and he lived up to his word.
The Roosters have had the edge on the Storm in big games in recent times, with their 2018 grand final win and 2019 preliminary final triumph.
Melbourne’s victory on Friday, their ninth in a row at AAMI Park, will give them hope a fourth title is in their grasp – but they will have to be far better to trouble the Panthers.
The Roosters, decimated by injury and suspension with more than a quarter of their top squad unavailable, hung in superbly.
After six wins in a row and a gallant attempt at a seventh, Trent Robinson’s men can hold their heads high.