Here’s our look at the quarter final results of the NRL Nines held at Eden Park on Sunday.
All reports from Matt Pritchard
QUARTER FINAL 1: FEENEY IN HOT WATER AS EELS ADVANCE
Parramatta Eels 12 Newcastle Knights 8
It was a nervous start for the Eels from the kickoff with a fumble by Semi Radradra. Fortunately for them the Knights couldn’t convert field position into points. It would be poor last tackle options in the Eels red zone kept Newcastle scoreless in the first half.
Despite the early setback it was Bevan French first to score for the Eels after two minutes. French fast becoming a standout at the tournament, forming a strong combination with Corey Norman. Radradra scored the Eels second at the six minute mark to put the Eels up by eight. French’s second of the first half gave Parramatta a commanding 12-0 lead at half time.
Jake Mamo got the Knights back into the game after the break by following a kick through in similar fashion to the group games. Jaleen Feeney’s try reduced the Eels lead to four after making the most of a mistake from the opposition. Tariq Sims was over the line shortly after but fumbled the ball, missing a golden opportunity to level scores.
In the final stages Feeney disputed a call by throwing the ball at the referee after he was judged to be tackled in goal. He ended up in the sin bin. The Match Review Committee saying the young Knight had no case to answer.
The Eels holding on for victory after struggling in the second half.
QUARTER FINAL 2: STORM SMOKEY’S END COWBOYS CAMPAIGN
Melbourne Storm 14 North Queensland Cowboys 6
A poor start from the Storm as they turned over the ball in the opening couple of tackles. North Queensland despite back to back sets couldn’t convert. The Cowboys best opportunity came at the mid point of the first half when Lachlan Coote’s pass went forward to an unmarked Justin O’Neill.
A controversial knock on call on Gavin Cooper gave Melbourne their best field position after seven minutes. From the error, Nafe Seluini dived low towards the line but was caught inches short. Finally the deadlock was broken with Richie Kennear crossed out wide to give the Storm a six point lead at the break.
North Queensland bid to win their second Nines title was under threat with Cameron Munster’s intercept set up Curtis Scott for a try one minute after the break. With five minutes to go the Cowboys got within four thanks to a score from Rory Kostjaysn.
Munster’s day appeared ended after his leg was twisted after being spun around in a tackle by Kane Linnett. He hobbled from the field with a suspected medial ligament.
Coote’s forward pass within the Cowboys twenty with a minute to go gifted the Storm an opportunity to close the game. Ben Hampton’s try put the result beyond doubt.
Semi-final 1 will be contested between Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels.
— NothingButRL (@NothingButRL) February 7, 2016
QUARTER FINAL 3: WARRIORS SET TO END HOME TOWN DROUGHT
New Zealand Warriors 16 Canberra Raiders 8
Drama from the start when Canberra almost scored from Zac Santo’s kickoff, the Warriors forced to dropout which they successfully regained possession.
Shaun Johnson’s pass to Jonathan Wright brought the Eden Park crowd to their feet after four minutes of dominating without scoring. Solomone Kata extended the lead two minutes later following a break by Blake Ayshford in the lead-up. When Johnson set up Kata for his second the Warriors were in command 12-0 heading into half-time.
Johnson’s kick off to start the second half found the sideline and led to their fourth try of the game when Ryan Hoffman’s kicked wickedly bounced for Henare Wells to score. The Raiders were finally in after Kurt Baptiste’s break led to Santo scoring with four minutes to go.
Jordan Rapana’s spectacular leap gave Canberra their second, but it was too late. The Warriors have the tournament to lose after producing the best performance of the winning sides in the quarters.
QUARTER FINAL 4: TITANS CRUISE PAST BRUISED EAGLES
Gold Coast Titans 24 Manly Sea Eagles 4
This game was going to be an uphill battle for the Sea Eagles after their squad was reduced to thirteen with five injured players during the tournament. The NRL denying the club an opportunity to draft an emergency player into their squad.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s concerns from clubs following the tournament about the timing of the Nines with some serious injuries picked up.
It took four minutes for either side to put a mark on the game. Brayden Williame the first to cross for Manly after a nice tip on by Tom Trbojevic in the follow up. Trbojevic soon after picked up an ankle injury being tackled which threatened to reduce their squad even further, however he reappeared at the start of the second half.
The Titans finally got on the board when Nene McDonald crashed over close to the posts to give his side the lead 6-4 at half time.
David Mead scored a bonus five point try to give the Titans an important nine point lead. The game put beyond doubt when Chris McQueen found space and motored to the line with three minutes to go. Anthony Don’s leap in the corner closed out the Titans scoring for the game.
It’s hard to judge the Titans performance given Manly’s injury crisis. They face home town favourites New Zealand Warriors in the semi finals.
— NothingButRL (@NothingButRL) February 7, 2016
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