NRL finals have started early with the Sydney Roosters locking up their top-eight spot after holding on for a 18-14 win over Melbourne in a fiery and drama-filled classic at AAMI Park.

But the match was overshadowed by a horrific scene with just 10 minutes to go after Roosters premiership star Victor Radley was knocked out and taken from the field on a stretcher.

He had run into the hip of Storm captain Jesse Bromwich and was seen convulsing as Melbourne players joined Roosters rivals in rushing to his aid.

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The concussion is a major concern because it was Radley’s second of the season, after he suffered a big hit in round one.

But the fast response on the field was followed by the good news that Radley was sitting up and conversing in the rooms before the game had ended.

In a further blow for Radley, the NRL on Saturday handed down an $1800 fine for dangerous contact on Melbourne’s Jahrome Hughes in the first half.

Harry Grant checks on Roosters rival Victor Radley after the horror head knock. Credit: Joel Carrett/AAP

The NRL match review committee also handed down a four-match ban for Roosters forward Lindsay Collins after a hip-drop tackle that injured Tom Eisenhuth in the 76th minute.

Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Nelson Asofa-Solomona can both accept $3000 fines for contrary conduct and dangerous contact respectively.

The Roosters’ victory spoiled the regular-season home farewell for Storm stalwarts Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Brandon Smith in front of 25,308 fans at AAMI Park.

Trent Robinson’s team silenced the parochial Melbourne crowd after charging out to a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes.

But when Nick Meaney scored in the 65th minute it gave the Storm faithful hope they could lock up a top-four spot before an away showdown with Parramatta in the final round next week.

Melbourne made several late bursts as they tried to pinch the lead for the first time in the game but the Roosters bravely defended their line, including a game-saving effort from superstar James Tedesco, to score a famous win.

Kenny Bromwich looked destined to cross for the Storm’s third try, but Tedesco was able to put his body between the ball and the line.

“It’s not always pretty but you’ve got to be desperate and you have to come up with try savers to win big games and none more critical than that,” Robinson said.

“We had to play in a different way tonight but proud of the way the guys went about it.”

Victor Radley was taken from the field on a stretcher. Credit: Joel Carrett/AAP

The game was fiery from the start and heated up further when Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Waerea-Hargreaves was offered a $3000 fine for contrary conduct, while Asofa-Solomona can accept the same punishment for dangerous contact on Joseph Suaalii in the second half.

Melbourne finally took advantage just before Waerea-Hargreaves returned to the field, with young flyer Xavier Coates crossing in the corner eight minutes before halftime.

A dramatic night took another turn when Storm coach Craig Bellamy fell ill with a migraine and was replaced in the post-game press conference by senior assistant Stephen Kearney.

“The Roosters got away to a really good start and we didn’t help ourselves there,” Kearney said.

“We had our opportunities, we probably weren’t quite good enough and I thought the Roosters did a really good job.”

The Storm will head to CommBank Stadium on Thursday night against the Eels, with the winners securing a top-four spot and the losers going into an elimination final.

Meanwhile, the Roosters will host South Sydney in a blockbuster re-opening of Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

– with 7NEWS