Roosters win 2017 Auckland Nines

The Roosters have survived an epic second-half comeback from the Panthers to hold on for a gripping 10-8 win to claim the Downer Auckland Nines trophy for the first time.

Down by 10 points at the interval, Penrith hit back with two second-half tries and had a chance to send the game into extra time like they did in the quarter-finals, but Darren Nicholls hooked his conversion attempt.

Connor Watson did his Player of the Tournament ambitions no harm with a pair of first-half try assists in another outstanding performance by the Roosters utility.

Penrith dodged a bullet early on when Joseph Manu was denied a blade of grass short by some desperate scramble defence.

They didn’t have to wait long to open their account though as tournament MVP Connor Watson threw a perfect cut-out pass to send Daniel Tupou over in just the third minute.

Watson showed he was equally adept throwing right to left as he put a spiral pass onto the chest of semi-final hero Bernard Lewis who acrobatically touched down in the opposite corner to open up an early 10-point lead at the break.

Clearly unperturbed by the half-time scoreline, the Panthers slashed the deficit to six points when Malakai Watene-Zelezniak dived over to give his side some hope with seven minutes left to play.

Manu should have steadied the ship for the Tricolours but undid some fleet-footed brilliance by dropping the ball in the process of scoring to let the Panthers off the hook.

That missed opportunity gave the Panthers a sniff, and with one minute left on the clock, the incredibly-talented Nathan Cleary produced a show-and-go in his own half that Johnathan Thurston would have been proud of to race 60 metres to bring his side within two points.

It was down to Darren Nicholls’s right boot to tie up the game and send it to extra-time, but his last-gasp shot sailed wide to hand the Roosters their third heart-stopping win in a row.

Roosters 10 (Daniel Tupou, Bernard Lewis tries; 1 goal) def. Panthers 8 (Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Nathan Cleary tries). Half-time: 10-0.

This article first appeared on NRL.COM

Credit: Martin Gabor ‌, National Correspondent ,


New Zealand’s biggest and most exciting summer extravaganza is back on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 February 2017!  Auckland will once again sizzle on and off the field as some of the NRL’s biggest stars Shaun Johnson, Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne strut their stuff at Eden Park in a battle to lift the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines trophy and win the massive cash prize. Also featuring the Kiwi Ferns versus the Australian Jillaroos who will showcase the best in woman’s rugby league in a three test Nines series.

Get amongst the incredible carnival atmosphere and dress in your favourite club colours, or get your mates together and dress to impress for an unforgettable weekend of sporting adventure as the stars come out to play!

To date, NRL superstars such as Shaun Johnson, Paul Gallen, Greg Bird, Corey Parker, the Burgess brothers,  Issac Luke, Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and try scoring machine Semi Radradra have lit up the Nines!  48 Australian Internationals;  44 Kiwi test players;  47 State of Origin stars;  6 English and almost 70 Pacific Nation reps have played so far in the first three Nines tournaments  – and that gallery of superstars is set to grow in 2017!  This is the only opportunity to witness so many star NRL players and all 16 teams together in one place at one time.  Be part of a 40,000-strong roaring crowd across two days of non-stop entertainment!

  • All 16 NRL clubs together in Auckland
  • Two-day knock-out tournament
  • Featuring 288+ star players
  • Superstars Johnathan Thurston, Shaun Johnson and Jarryd Hayne the first to confirm they will play
  • 31 action packed games
  • More speed! More tries! More fun!
  • 9 players per team, 9 minute halves
  • NZ $2.6 million dollars + in prize money
  • Over 80,000 fans expected over 2 days

The games are shorter, the gaps are wider and the action is hotter, so brace yourself for an explosion of on-field entertainment. Will your club take out the prestigious 2017 NRL Auckland Nines title and lift the trophy to start their NRL season with a bang? Be there to find out.

I love the whole tournament – all 16 clubs in our home city is awesome! I love the colour and passion of the fans who come out to support us. The noise from our Warriors fans in the stadium when we run out onto the field is nothing I’ve experienced before!

Shaun Johnson

NZ Warriors