Auckland Nines Round 1 Wrap

Here’s our look at the opening day of the NRL Nines held at Eden Park on Saturday.

GAME 1: Defending Nines Champs survive Roosters scare

Story by Brandon Lee

South Sydney 14 Sydney Roosters 13

The Roosters led for most of the match but South Sydney never stopped chasing them. They came away victors by one point after Michael Oldfield scored off a Daniel Tupou error.

Joseph Manu looked promising in attack and defence for Roosters and Braith Anasta showed time hasn’t wearied him crashing over for a try. Latrell Mitchell and Joe Burgess looked great putting pressure on Tupou’s first grade spot. Cameron McInnes and Jason Clark the stand-outs for Souths, ran it hard and with purpose at the line.

GAME 2: Green puts favourites Parra on tightrope

Melbourne Storm 14 Parramatta Eels 4

Story by Brandon Lee

The Storm started impressively capitalising on early Eels mistake. Ben Hampton made a speedy run out of dummy half to set up Cameron Munster for an easy try. Parramatta looked flat with Corey Norman the best of the bunch setting up their only try without a cut-out to Manu Ma’u. Curtis Scott made some good runs looking to put his case forward for a first grade spot. Blake Green man of the match, directed the attack well and scored a try off a strong solo run evading four defenders on his way to the line.

GAME 3: NRL Champs way too strong for NRL Spooners

North Queensland Cowboys 28 Newcastle Knights 12

Story by Brandon Lee

Cowboys far too strong for the Knights. Starved the Knights of possession, scoring 4 tries in the first half. Gideon Gela-Mosby didn’t look out of place among a team of first graders, scored a double and showed good finishing ability leaping into the air to put a ball down before he went into touch.

Korbin Sims performed his best halfback impression putting in a neat little grubber for Brock Lamb to score. Gavin Cooper scored a hat-trick, Michael Morgan MOTM.

GAME 4: Cartwright stars in Panthers first win since 2014

Penrith Panthers 23 Wests Tigers 7

Story by Brandon Lee

Wests Tigers were enthusiastic attempting a lot of offloads and spreading the ball but lacked direction. However the Panthers were a class above in experience and attack exploiting poor edge defence. Cartwright was in sublime form, setting up two tries and his offloads creating headaches for the opposition.

Going into the break 12-0 down, the Tigers were flat and clueless in attack in the 2nd half despite Simona producing a superb solo play leading to a bonus zone try.

Tyler Cassell was concussed in a head collision with Suaia Matagi’s knee. He was walking fine afterwards and it didn’t look too serious.


GAME 5: Warriors resist early Bulldogs pressure for comfortable win

New Zealand Warriors 34  Canterbury Bulldogs 8

Story by James Morgan

Handling errors from the Bulldogs allowed the Warriors to score thirty-four unanswered points to avoid a loss to the rank outsiders. Shaun Johnson was able to cap off a game of playmaking mastery with a try from an intercept on the siren.

Nathaniel Roache and Solomone Kata bagged two each in addition to a try from Jeff Robson, showing that if you dominate possession you can dominate the scoreboard. Man of the Match Shaun Johnson.

GAME 6: Parcell sinks former club

Story by James Morgan

Manly Sea Eagles 11 Brisbane Broncos 8

Matt Parcell was able to chase a kick to steal the game with three seconds left in a tight encounter. Darius Boyd was everywhere for the Broncos, helping lay on the plays with Sam Thaiday, as they went down.

It was not a game as unexciting as the scoreboard suggested, enterprising play from both sides repelled by determined defences. Tom Opacic went over for two in the losing Brisbane effort, and there was a Trbojevic double act for Manly’s other try. Man of the Match: Darius Boyd.

GAME 7: Raiders win thriller over Dragons

Canberra Raiders 28 St George-Illawarra Dragons 20

Story by James Morgan

A match that would see-saw repeatedly in the last five minutes saw Canberra escape with victory. From 13-all, it went to 17-13 (Raiders), to 20-17 (Dragons), to 24-20 (Raiders), before Luke Bateman put it on ice at 28-20.

Both teams were not afraid to throw the ball around with eight different try scorers, but it was the big men from Canberra who proved too hard to handle, offloading regularly to give some wriggle space to the smaller men. Man of the Match: Brenko Lee

GAME 8: Sharks fend off Titans challenge

Cronulla Sharks 23 Gold Coast Titans 12

Story by James Morgan

Ben Barba was back to his scintillating best early as Cronulla took chances that the Titans blew on their way to their first victory of the tournament.

While Cronulla were pouncing on every mistake, the Titans were not as effective, making errors when they got in Cronulla territory frequently. Barba did not get much ball however made two decisive early incisions when he did, setting up the Sharks, and they would not relinquish that early lead.

Déjà vu all over again for the Titans as mistakes when in possession and a dumb Greg Bird penalty proved too costly. Man of the Match: Ben Barba


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