NRL 2019: Sydney Roosters retain Grand Final crown with controversial late call

The Sydney Roosters have become the first team to record back-to-back premierships in 26 years, but their 14-8 NRL Grand Final win over Canberra will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

The Roosters ensured they sent retiring champion halfback Cooper Cronk out a winner, as they successfully defended their title on Sunday night at ANZ Stadium, but referee Ben Cummins' gaffe, which led to James Tedesco's winning try, is set to be debated fiercely.

After a season in which the referees have frequently had the spotlight on them, they will again dominate headlines, after an incident that is set to rock Rugby League Central.

With the scores tied at 8-8, the Raiders had the Roosters on the rack and looked to have earned a repeat set, when Tedesco failed to reel in a bomb.

Cummins waved his arms in the air to signal six again, but when Jack Wighton was tackled with the ball, they ruled a turnover.

Heartbreakingly for coach Ricky Stuart's side, the Roosters scored off the next set, with Luke Keary exploding down the blind side and Latrell Mitchell producing a beautiful flick pass to unlock Daniel Tupou for Tedesco to score between the posts.

Cronk finished his career with victory in his ninth Grand Final, equalling Ron Coote and Eddie Lumsden for third-most appearances in a decider.

He also became the first player since a host of Parramatta greats - including Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny in 1981-83 - to win three-straight titles.

While the referees will be accused of giving the rub of the green to the Roosters, the Raiders were also on the end of a favourable call, when Cronk was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Raiders prop Josh Papalii looked almost certain to score, but Cronk hit him marginally early, while defending his line, giving the 'Green Machine' a one-man advantage for 10 minutes.

With Cronk off the field, the only dent the Raiders made on the scoreboard was a Jarrod Croker penalty goal to evened up the scores, with Joey Leilua blowing a golden chance, when he threw a pass forward to Jordan Rapana.

The Roosters were resilient in the closing stages, when they were forced to defend their line. The Raiders will be able to hold their heads high, after having the ascension for most of their first Grand Final appearance since 1994.

The referees were influential for the entire 80 minutes, after the Roosters took first points in controversial circumstances, after Sam Verrills dived over.

The Roosters were gifted prime field position, after an Elliott Whitehead charge-down cannoned into Roosters trainer Travis Touma.

Under NRL rules, if play is "irregularly affected", the referee awards a scrum feed to the attacking side and after forcing a repeat set, Verrills scored.

While the rule was widely criticised, the Raiders remained in touch at 8-6, after Clive Churchill Medal winner Wighton stepped off his left foot to bamboozle Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner.

But the Roosters showed their trademark grit and flair to hold on, as they recorded their third premiership under coach Trent Robinson.