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NRL Nines

Auckland Nines Round 3 wrap

Here’s our look at the final preliminary games of the NRL Nines held at Eden Park on Sunday.

Results for game 21-24 will be updated shortly

Game 17: Roosters end Nine’s campaign on a high

Sydney Roosters 26 Melbourne Storm 7

Story by Sam Dasey

Melbourne dominated early on off the back of Blake Greens kicking game which landed the side a 40/20, however the Roosters weathered the Storm. The Roosters then capitalised on a Melbourne mistake, with Latrell Mitchell running almost the full length of the field to score a bonus zone try in the only try of the first half.

The Storm hit back early in the second stanza when Omar Slaimankhel spilled the ball under pressure from Green who set up the Storm’s first in the bonus zone for a 7-all score line.

From there on it was all the Roosters who played with freedom to set up tries for Jospeh Manu, Vincent Leuluai, Connor Watson and a bonus zone try to Nat Butcher. Man of the Match: Ian Henderson

Game 18: Parramatta progress while the defending champs faulter

Parramatta Eels 24 South Sydney Rabbitohs 11

Story by Sam Dasey

With the winner set to head through to the finals, the Eels jumped out of the blocks through a spread to Semi Radradra with the try was converted from out wide by Corey Norman.

The Rabbitohs then scored fortuitously through Bryson Goodwin, who won the race to the ball to score from an attempted John Sutton 40/20.

Norman then did it all himself for a solo try, before Bevan French showed his toe to claim a four pointer of his own following a chip ahead from the middle of the field.

The defending Nine’s champions got the ball back from the kick off at the start of the second stanza and Cameron McInnes scored a bonus zone try to tighten the game to a three-point deficit.

The game became a sloppy affair, with the Souths side completing just 38% of their sets, allowing Vai Toutai and Radradra to score in opposite corners to eliminate the Rabbitohs and progress the Eels past the pool stage.

Game 19: Knights overcome Tigers in scrappy affair

Newcastle Knights 21 Wests Tigers 16

Story by Sam Dasey

In a sudden death encounter, both sides started poorly with errors the main feature of the first few minutes of the game.

It took some speed and strength from Tiger Josh Addo Carr to break the dead lock. However, the kick off went out on the full, allowing Danny Levi to hit back for the Knights, pushing over from dummy half. Replays cast doubt on the grounding of the football but the try was awarded.

Robbie Rochow scored a simple bonus zone try before the break to give the Knights an 11-4 lead.
Wests needed to score next and did so, with Manaia Cherrington taking a quick tap following a penalty to catch the Knights napping.

Newcastle however pushed home their advantage through tries to Akuila Uate and Jake Mamo. Despite a late blistering try to Addo Carr, the Knights held on and progressed to the next stage. Man of the Match: Jake Mamo

Game 20: Cowboys hang on in thrilling clash with Panthers

North Queensland Cowboys 15 Penrith Panthers 11

Story by Sam Dasey

The Panthers scored a spectacular try to open the game with Waqa Blake pushing aside Lachlan Coote before allowing James Segeyaro to lay on a try for Frenchman Benjamin Garcia.

But despite the fantastic opening, the Panthers began to struggle as a result of numerous mistakes. The Cowboys made them pay, with tries to Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess as well as a bonus zone try to Ethan Lowe. All three tries were scored in similar fashion, with the Cowboy’s big men running through holes out wide.

Staring at a 15-6 deficit at the break, the Penrith side needed to fight back and Bryce Cartwright did his best to provide the spark, scoring a bonus zone try in the 14th minute to close the gap to just four. Despite a number of penalties to assist them Penrith in their attempt to steal the game, the North Queensland side hung on to their lead and claimed their way through to the next stage. Man of the match: Gavin Cooper

GAME 21: Bulldogs finish tournament on a high

Canterbury Bulldogs 14 Manly Sea Eagles 8

Story by Brandon Lee

Sea Eagles had to play with the bare minimum of players with Buhrer and Taufua picking up injuries with Green and Jake Trbojevic missing through concussion concerns.

Bulldogs had bulk of early possession, holding the ball for three straight minutes and scored the first try. It was a fairly close affair from there. Both teams went try for try throughout the match with a conversion and a late Dane Chisolm try from a grubber to himself making the difference.

Tyrone Phillips showed off good speed with some impressive runs and scoring a try by chasing down a kick from 30m out. Brayden Williame pulled off a brilliant cover tackle to deny Phillips his second try right at the end of the first half after Phillips got into open space and raced down the sideline Jayden Hodges joined the list injured, his right knee gave way during a relatively simple run of the ball. Suspected ACL season ending for him.

Craig Garvey was very busy out of dummy half and Matt Frawley was also heavily involved and directed the attack well, MOTM.

GAME 22: Warriors top group against winless Broncos

New Zealand Warriors 15 Brisbane Broncos 8

Story by Brandon Lee

Warriors started slow, they had good field position but couldn’t convert it to points. Broncos looked energetic in contrast, scoring the first try via a backline shift to Jamayne Isaako who dived for the line.

Warriors blew a scoring opportunity early when Lolohea made a break from a restart but threw a forward pass to Henare Wells that denied them a try. Nathaniel Roache continued to impress after a late call up to the 9’s, hitting back for the Warriors with a strong run from 10 out to get the Warriors on equal terms.

Like the previous game it was a tit for tat affair with both teams trading tries creating a deadlock heading into the final minutes. Johnson saved the day and won the game with a display of his trademark magic, dancing and stepping around to evade defender after defender to score a brilliant try in the bonus zone. MOTM

GAME 23: Titans on the march against Red V

St George-Illawarra Dragons 12 Gold Coast Titans 24

Story by Brandon Lee

Titans had too much strike power for the Dragons. They played high energy football from the start. Fast passes, spreading the ball wide, offloads and scrambling to keep the ball alive near the sideline leading to the first try from Chris McQueen. Aitken showed off some great pace to rocket down field and get the Dragons in good field position, scoring a try later in the same set to level up the scores.

It was 8-4 to the Titans at half time and looking close but Titans stormed out of the blocks in the 2nd half beginning with rookie speedster Greg Leleisiuao racing down the side from halfway to score, they quickly added two tries soon after to create an untouchable lead.

The Dragons scored two late consolation tries to make the scoreline more respectable. Titans put together a good team effort. Paasi and Leleisiuaio were some of the stand-outs.

GAME 24: Confusion reigns as Raiders sneak into the finals

Canberra Raiders 18 Cronulla Sharks 6

Story by Brandon Lee

Sharks were disappointing and lacked the spark they had yesterday. Raiders scored first off a potential double movement from Kurt Baptiste lending a touch of controversy to proceedings but Sharks didn’t take long to reply with a step and an offload from Joseph Paulo setting up a try to Sam Tagatese.

Josh Cleeland made some good tackles, stripping the ball off the Raiders in the Sharks twenty to get them out of trouble but Raiders kept the pressure on and made plenty of metres on the flanks, exploiting the unusual positioning of David Fifita on the wing, eventually scoring through Zac Santo take a two point lead into the break.

Sharks were flat in the second half and were unable to make an impact in attack. Raiders were patient and waited for opportunities with Jack Williams putting the icing on the cake for the Raiders with his try taking the Raiders to the quarter finals on Points Differential Rapana was impressive in the match, making good metres and being a handful in attack fending off defenders and running hard and fast to score a try.

Baptiste’s speed out of dummy half helped keep the Raiders on the go through out the match and was key to their victory.

QUARTER FINAL GAMES (all local times in NZ)

13:55 Parramatta Eels vs Newcastle Knights
14:20 Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys
15:05 New Zealand Warriors vs Canberra Raiders
15:30 Gold Coast Titans vs Manly Sea Eagles

Click here for the Quarter Finals match reports

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