In the opening game of the 2015 Dick Smith Auckland Nines Chris Sandow and Reece Robinson were prominent in the Parramatta Eels’ impressive 22-17 victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Robinson, in his first season for the Eels after switching from the Canberra Raiders, scored a double, while Sandow steered the club around superbly.
Game two saw the Newcastle Knights account for the St George Illawarra Dragons 18-7 with Knights’ winger Jake Mamo scoring a hat-trick of tries. The Dragons jumped out to an early lead thanks to a bonus zone try to Eto Nabuli but from there on it was all Knights.
The defending champions, the North Queensland Cowboys dominate an under-strength Melbourne Storm outfit 17-8 with Matthew Wright scoring a double and Jason Taumololo continuing on from his excellent 2014 form.
A low scoring match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers ended with the Rabbtiohs claiming victory 11-4 after the Panthers had opened the scoring early on. All the points were scored in the first half.
The Wests Tigers had to come from behind in their first match, claiming a 16-10 over the Canberra Raiders. The Raiders jumped out to a 10-0 lead thanks to tries to Lachlan Croker and Jack Ahearn however the Tigers came roaring back thanks to a double to Kyle Lovett, and despite the sin-binning of a Tigers player late in the match, the Raiders fell short.
The New Zealand Warriors began their campaign with a 17-10 win over the Gold Coast Titans. Ryan Hoffman opened the scoring in his debut for the club, but the Titans replied through Josh Hoffman, also in his debut for his new club. The two sides traded tries before Tuimoala Lolohe scored a late try to seal victory for the Warriors.
The Roosters and Broncos played out a scrappy game, won 6-4 by the Roosters, although neither coach would be happy with his teams’ performance. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s late try sealed the result for the Roosters after Darren Nicholls had earlier opened the scoring for the Broncos.
The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks put the other teams on notice with an impressive 17-4 win over the Bulldogs. Valentine Holmes was a star for the Sharks, as was Nathan Gardner.
The Eels made it two from two with a hard-fought 21-15 over the Knights, courtesy of a last-minute try to the highly-rated Tepai Moeroa after the Knights had clawed their way back into the game. Chris Sandow had another excellent game in a promising start to 2015 and was well supported by five eighth Corey Norman.
The Dragons bounced back with a 25-21 win over the Sea Eagles. The Sea Eagles rested Kieran Foran for their second match of the tournament, while the Dragons, who were unimpressive in their first-up loss to the Knights found some form. They raced to a 19-4 lead before a Sea Eagles came back to lead by two late in the match. A second try Nabuli, his third of the tournament, sealed the result for the Dragons.
The Storm outclassed the Panthers 20-4, to record their first win after their earlier loss to the Cowboys. The Panthers’ defence out wide was exposed and the Storm ran up a 14-4 lead by halftime and Young Tonumaipea scored the lone try of the second half.
The Rabbitohs scored an impressive 19-12 win over the defending champions, the Cowboys, a late try to Matt King sealing the result. The Cowboys started strongly and led 12-6 at the break but a George Burgess try brought the Rabbitohs back into the contest before King’s effort ensured victory.
Josh Drinkwater was the star as the Tigers thumped the Titans 26-0. The former Dragons halfback scored a try and led the young Tigers around well in a one-sided match that ended the Titans’ hopes of progressing.
A last-minute Jack Ahearn try saw the Raiders upset the Warriors 23-19 in the match of the day. Joel Edwards scored first for the Raiders but a typically brilliant try to Shaun Johnson had them back in the game and the Warriors raced to a 19-4 in the second half. However the Raiders weren’t finished yet and two quick tries saw them close the gap to 19-16 before a beautiful short ball by Mitch Cornish set up the match-winning try.
For the second time in two matches, the Roosters and Bulldogs struggled to adapt to the Nines format, playing out a dull match, won 10-6 by the Roosters. Samisoni Langi was the only spark for the Roosters, who despite their undefeated start, have scored just 16 points in two matches, while the Bulldogs will not progress after losing both of their day one matches.
The Sharks and Broncos rounded out day one action, with the Sharks romping home to the tune of 31-4. Valentine Homes was again the star, scoring a try himself and setting up another as the Sharks outclassed, the Broncos to end their hopes of progression.
For all the match highlights from day one click here
Group Standings After Day 1