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Looking back at the Auckland Nines

A wonderful event showcasing the future stars

The writers for weloveleague look back at the Auckland Nines tournament… we start off with Adam Bagnall’s thoughts on the event and the concept overall.

Congratulations to the North Queensland Cowboys on taking out the inaugural Dick Smith Auckland Nines with a hard-fought 16-7 win over the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday.

The Nines have been a wonderful event, providing spectacular tries that may not have been witnessed in thirteen a side rugby league.

It has given fringe first graders like Semi Radradra,  George Jennings and Javed Bowen, cousin of Cowboys great Matt Bowen,  the opportunity to showcase their wares which could secure them a starting spot when the season proper kicks off in a few weeks time.

Due to the shortened length of matches and the fact that four players have been removed from each side you can’t really use it as an indicator for the upcoming season, but I don’t think that’s what the Nines is all about. It’s about entertainment, blowing the cobwebs out after a long pre season and trying a few combinations to see what works, and it’s definitely done that.

I’m not convinced that the concept is fully supported by all the clubs; the Roosters left many of their stars at home and the Storm left their big three in Australia. I’d like to see the big names play, but I guess the clubs are worried about injuries, and we have already seen the likes of Lachlan Coote and Jarrod Mullen sustain serious injuries, but this is rugby league and injuries will occur. Better to have it happen now, still a few weeks out from round one, than during the season where it has much more effect.

Overall the inaugural Auckland Nines can be hailed a runaway success, there seemed to be a great atmosphere in Auckland and I’d like to see it played in Australia next year, maybe at Allianz Stadium because I don’t think a half empty ANZ Stadium will be a great look for the game.

The A to Z of Nines footy

Sitting in the terraces of Eden Park was our New Zealand weloveleague writer Shanaya Gregg, who sums up the A-Z of Nines footy…
A is for atmosphere.
The atmosphere at Eden Park was simply incredible over the whole weekend.
B is for Bulldogs;
Despite recording a win against the Roosters, the Bulldogs were huge disappointments at the Auckland Nines.
C is for Cowboys.
Not many would have picked the North Queensland Cowboys to have made it all the way to the final let alone take out the trophy.
D is for dress up.
The costumes at the Nines were brilliant! I was sitting next to a school of shrimp, you can’t get much better than that.
E stands for entertainment;
Every game of the NRL Nines produced amazing entertainment, with all teams playing an expansive style of footy.
F is for fans;
Just over 80,000 fans walked through the gates of Eden Park over both days and they were treated to incredible matches over the course of the weekend.
G is for goals;
Clearly there is some serious dropkicking practise needed before next year.
H is for Hoffman;
Josh Hoffman was on fire for the Broncos and even took the time out to throw his boots and socks to some lucky fans after their finals loss.
I is for injuries;
Injuries to star players Todd Carney and Lachlan Coote put a damper on what was an epic weekend.
J is for James Tamou;
Tamou played with his heart on his sleeve and was arguably the Cowboys best player in the tournament.
K is for killer step;
Shaun Johnson’s right foot step. Enough said.
L is for loud;
If you’ve never experienced a crowd of Warriors supporters cheering on their team then I highly recommend you do!
M is for MVP;
Shaun Johnson was a well deserved winner of the Auckland Nines MVP.
N is for naked .
No tournament would be complete without a streaker.
O is for offloads;
Fifita and Parker were two stand outs when it came to offloads.
P is for penalties;
Too many.
Q is for Queensland;
An all Queensland Final. Who would’ve thought!
R is for Roosters;
The Roosters pulled out Mitchell Pearce and Brad Fittler for their last pool match. I call chicken.
S is for Sharks;
Despite losing Todd Carney and Paul Gallen before the second day, the Sharks still managed to make it all the way to the quarter finals .
T is for Todd carney;
A hamstring injury to the star five-eighth saw him on a plane and straight back to Sydney after day one.
U for underdogs;
The Cowboys and Broncos came into the competition as underdogs and ended up facing each other in the final.
V valuable player;
For the Eels it was Fuifui Moimoi , the Knights Jarrod Mullen and the Panthers Josh Mansour.
W is for warriors
Guttered bro.
X is for xtreme;
I extremely recommend making a trip to Auckland for the Nines. The greatest weekend!
Y for young talent;
The likes of Valentine Holmes for the Sharks and George Jennings for the Panthers lit up the competition.
Z for zero biff ;
No punch ups. I don’t know if that’s disappointing or not.

The last word

Sam Dasey sums up the event and what it may mean for the North Queensland Cowboys.

I found the Nines an overall enjoyable tournament to watch, and the atmosphere at the ground seemed electric. Like all preseason fixtures, you look at the injuries and wonder if it is all worth it, even for the large pay check the finals teams collect.

Lachlan Coote must be wondering the same thing. As a Sharks supporter, enjoy the success though, Cowboys fans. It can be a long time between drinks, and both our clubs still only have preseason success (Sharks having won the 1979 Amco Cup) . Maybe it is for this reason that I overall think these types of season openers are a good idea!

University of Wollongong alumni and aspiring journalist.

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