Catch the action as it happens from the Dick Smith NRL
Auckland Nines at Eden Park ...
DAY TWO, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Australia snatch a game back from the Kiwi Ferns 8-7, but
the home team take the inaugural women's nine series and showed
they can put on the big hits too.
Janna Vaughan scores her third try in as many games - a
five-pointer, converted by Laura Mariu - and Mariu is awarded
Player of the Series.
Kiwi Sosaia Feki outpaces Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to seal a
NRL Nines final spot for the upstart Sharks, 10-4 over the Sydney
But their ability to compete in the final agains Souths may be
compromised with what looks like a knee injury to playmaker
Kiwis Bryson Goodwin (twice) and Issac Luke cross for
tries, as Souths overwhelm Eels 37-6 in the first semifinal.
The reigning NRL champions simply never let Parramatta into the
contest and now have a chance to secure a unique double.
Tries from Nora Maaka and Sarina Fiso seal the 16-4 win over
Australia and they take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-game
Janna Vaughan, who scored yesterday's gamewinner, opens
the scoring for the Kiwi Ferns this time and they lead 7-4 at
A brief moment of confusion on the sidelines means the NZ team
have only seven players on the field at one point, but the
situation is rectified without the Aussies taking
Heartbreak for the home team, as the Warriors dip out
14-12 to the Sharks and are out of the tournament.
Tries to Vatuvei, Kata and Laumape are not enough to overcome
two converted five-point efforts from Cronulla.
Down by two with only moments remaining, the Warriors reclaimed
a short kick-off by Johnson, but squandered two chances to win.
Four Sydney teams in the semis - Eels v Rabbitohs, Roosters v
Next up, Game Two between the NZ Kiwi Ferns and Australia
Roosters are too good for Wests, 22-4, and now face the
winners of Warriors v Sharks in the semifinals.
Souths cruise past Newcastle 30-6 into the semifinals,
after the Knights scored the first try of the game.
The Rabbitohs will now face the Eels at the next
We will have new champions at the NRL Nines, with North
Queensland eliminated 17-11 by Parramatta in the first
The scores were deadlocked 11-11 entering the final minute, but
Corey Norman crossed for the winning try and converted to guide his
Brisbane end an otherwise forgettable tournament for them
with a 13-0 win over the Bulldogs, both teams having been
eliminated on Day One.
Junior Kiwi Kodi Nikorima scores a try, as does brother Jayden,
for the Broncos.
So now, the quarterfinals, with defending champions North
Queensland facing unbeaten Parramatta Eels, followed by Knights v
Rabbitohs, Tigers v Roosters and Warriors v Sharks.
Roosters and Sharks rest many of their top players for
this dead rubber, and perhaps neither really want to face Warriors
in the quarterfinals.
Cronulla win 20-14, so they progress unbeaten.
Gold Coast do the Warriors a massive favour, smashing Canberra
38-13 to allow the homeside into the next stage. Kiwi Josh Hoffman
scores the final try for his new club.
Tries to Solomone Kata, Ben Henry, Tui Lolohea & Manu
Vatuvei give the Warriors a 22-8 win over the previously nubeaten
Tigers, but Wests are assured of a spot in the quarters.
Canberra can still dprive the Warriors, if they beat Gold Coast
by 20. A much better performance, though, from the Warriors.
Tries to Vatuvei and Kata have the Warriors up 8-4 at
halftime over unbeaten Tigers.
Jason Taumalolo scores a try in North Queensland's 14-8
win over Penrith, as the nines titleholders safely progress to the
Warriors are next up - they have to beat Wests to keep this
crowd alive. Sam Tomkins, who missed yesterday through illness, is
in the starting line-up.
Kiwis Issac Luke and Bryson Goodwin cross for tries, as
Souths complete an unbeaten run through play, blitzing Melbourne
The result leaves the second spot in Waiheke Pool up for grabs,
but defending nines champions North Queensland must be favoured
against Penrith next up.
Manly threaten to upset the Knights' bid for the
quarterfinals, thanks to a try that obviously wasn't forced
But Newcastle get up 20-17 in the dying stages to eliminate
Marshall and his Dragons on a points countback.
Former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall keeps his Dragons alive in the
tournament, creating and then finishing off the winning try
movement in a 12-10 result over previously unbeaten Eels.
If Knights can beat Manly next, that would create a three-way
tie for the two quarterfinal spots from the Rangitoto Pool.
South Sydney, Wests Tigers, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and
Cronulla will be the only undefeated teams to start Day Two of the
2015 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines, after an unpredictable first
day at Eden Park.
The Rabbitohs showed they will be serious nines title threats,
following on from their NRL Telstra Premiership triumph last
October, with victories over Penrith and defending nines champions
The Cowboys were strong in their first-up victory over
Melbourne, but faltered against the Rabbitohs on a typically
colourful nines day in Auckland. However, they can be heartened
that they began Day Two with one victory and one defeat in 2014,
before claiming the inaugural nines trophy.
The Eels opened the tournament with a 22-17 win over Manly and
then defeated Newcastle to give Brad Arthur's side a successful
Wests Tigers gave coach Jason Taylor a strong start to his first
year at the club with victories over Canberra and Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, the Sharks and the Roosters will both head into Day Two
confident of success in the nine-a-side format with two victories
The Raiders scored the upset of Day One with a victory over the
Warriors, who looked worthy title favourites up until the final
moments of their match.
The crowd of 43,054 was treated to a day of entertainment,
involving a host of NRL stars including Shaun Johnson, Mitchell
Pearce, Adam Reynolds, Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Benji
Marshall and Josh Dugan, as well as the introduction of the
And the NZ Kiwi Ferns went one-up in their three-match series
with an 8-4 victory over the Australian Jillaroos in the first
nines match between the two women's teams, watched by a live
television audience in both New Zealand via Sky Sport and Australia
via FOX SPORTS.
Day Two will begin at 11.10am (NZ time) with the Eels going up
against the Dragons.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1
DAY ONE, SATURDAY, JANUARY 30
Fa'amanu Brown and Valentine Holmes inspire Cronulla
Sharks to the biggest win of the day, 31-4 over Brisbane, to close
out Day One of the NRL Auckland Nines.
The result sees the Broncos out of contention, which won't
please coach Wayne Bennett, but the rejuvenated Sharks line-up look
a serious bet for further honours, leading 21-0 at
The miserly Roosters do barely enough to get past the Canterbutry
Bulldogs and into the quarterfinals.
After scoring the matchwinning try against Brisbane earlier
today, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck pulls off a matchsaving tackle this
Canberra come back with three tries in as many minutes to
stun the Warriors 23-19, with Mitchell Conrish cross for a
five-pointer on the siren.
Tries to Tui Lolohea and another to Matt Allwood have Warriors
up 19-4 and seemingly cruising, but Lolohea has another disallowed
for a forward pass and the home side take their foot off the
That means they have to beat unbeaten Tigers tomorrow and then
rely on a points countback.
Shaun Johnson produces two pieces of brilliance to put
the Warriors ahead 11-4 at halftime over Canberra.
Down 4-0, Johnson steps on the accelerator to leave the Raiders
defence grasping at air, scoring a five-point try that he converts.
Then, he throws a long cut-out pass that puts Ken Maumalo over
unopposed in the corner.
In the day's most one-sided game so far, Wests Tigers put
paid to the Gold Coast Titans 26-0 and showed the Warriors will
need to up their game just to get out of pool play.
Tigers barely outlasted Canberra earlier this afternoon. The
Raiders are up against the Warriors next.
North Queensland suffer a setback in their title defence, bowing
to South Sydney 19-12. That probably doesn't mean much - the
Rabbitohs are reigning NRL champions after all.
Melbourne and Penrith are probably two of the weaker teams on
paper this year, but the Storm gain some bragging rights with a
20-4 win to keep themselves alive.
Manly Sea Eagles slip out of tournament contention
when they can't sustain a late bid for victory over St George
Manly take a narrow lead with a couple of minutes remaining, but
the Dragons come back for a last-gasp try to snatch the 25-21 win.
Tepai Moeroa scores on the siren to give Parramatta Eels a
19-15 win over Newcastle Knights.
The Eels had lead early, but Junior Kiwi Joseph Tapine
scored late to draw level 15-15, before Moeroa's last-ditch
Debutant Janna Vaughan crosses for the winning try, as the Kiwi
Ferns go one up over their Australia rivals in their three-game
The Jillaroos score first, but tries to Sharnita Woodman and
Vaughan in the second half carry the day 8-4 at the end. Both teams
return at 4.35pm tomorrow for their secone encounter, just before
the men's semis.
Young Kiwi prospect Fa'amanu Brown opens the scoring
for a much improved Cronulla Sharks in their 15-4 win over
Kiwis wing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scores a try and then
converts from close to the posts, as Sydney Roosters steal a 6-4
win over Brisbane Broncos in the final moments.
Brisbane go the length of the field for what seems like a
matchwinner after the final siren, only to be called for a forward
Home fans go crazy for their Warriors team, but the
local side are scratchy in their 17-10 win over Gold Coast. Tries
to newcomer Ryan Hoffman and Solomone Kata have them only 13-10 up
with a couple of minutes to play, but Tu'imoala Lolohea crosses to
put them clear.
Kiwi Josh Hoffman grabs the Titans' first try.
Canberra legend Kenny Nagas gets a run for his old
club and perhaps should have earned them a draw, when he is tackled
without the ball on the goal-line, when all he had to do was fall
over to score.
No call, though, and Wests Tigers hold on for a 16-10
Great to see Isaac John back on the field for Penrith. He suffered
a season-ending injury just days after his Kiwis debit in last
year's Anzac Test, but his return is not enough to inspire the
Panthers against reigning NRL champions Souths.
Issac Luke leads the Rabbitohs to a 11-4 victory.
The Storm get back a couple of tries, but have no
answer to North Queensland, for whom 2014 Kiwis Rookie of the Year
Jason Taumalolo shows out. Cowboys prevail 17-8.
Melbourne Storm get a luke warm reception from the
crowd for their AFL-style singlets. A moment's silence is observed
for the two North Queensland younsters who took their own lives
this week - one of them was originally from the Storm, so
Both teams are wearing black arm bands.
The Cowboys - defending champions at this event - lead 13-0 at
halftime, although Melbourne are one of the weaker squads this
Word from the Warriors is that English international Sam Tomkins
is out through illness.
No joy for Marshall or Nightingale, as the Dragons fall 18-7 to
the Knights. Jake Mamo has three tries for Newcastle to establish
himself as an early star of this year's tournament.
Former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall back on the ground where he
had no joy last year in his ill-fated rugby union stint with the
Auckland Blues. His Dragons trail the Knights 8-7 at halftime,
Marshall has pulled off one great tackle in the corner to save a
try, while Kiwis wing Jason Nightingale put Etonia Nabuli away for
the opening try.
Parramatta draw first blood with a 22-17 win over Manly.
If you haven't seen it already, check out what Kiwi Fern Maitua
"Munkey" Feterika got up to at the NRL Fanzone ysterday
One of the first Kiwis in action on Day One of the NRL Nines is
official Shane Rehm, who is positioned in goal for the Eels v Sea
The rugby league year gets off to a massive start this weekend,
when the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines hits Eden Park.
Join us from Saturday afternoon, as we follow the action
Can defending champions North Queensland repeat their success of
the inaugural tournament?
Can Kiwis maestro and 2014 MVP Shaun Johnson lead the hometown
Warriors to the title?
Can the Kiwi Ferns maintain their edge over the world champion
Jillaroos in the shortened format?
We'll keep you up to date with the results and top Kiwis
performers over what promises to be a spectacular two days.
DICK SMITH NRL AUCKLAND NINES
SATURDAY, JANUARY 31
NZ officials in action
12.30pm Eels v Sea Eagles - Shane Rehm (in goal)
12.55pm Knights v Dragons - Kena Waikai (touch), Aaron Donald
1.20pm Storm v Cowboys - Rehm (touch), Chris McMillan &
Donald (in goal)
2.20pm Tigers v Raiders - Rochelle Tamarua (in goal)
2.45pm Titans v Warriors - McMillan (touch)
3.10pm Roosters v Broncos - Waikai (touch), Tamarua & Donald
3.35pm Bulldogs v Sharks - Rehm (touch)
4pm Kiwi Ferns v Jillaroos - Tamarua (touch), McMillan &
Donald (in goal)
5.40pm Cowboys v Rabbitohs - Waikai (touch)
6.15pm Tigers v Titans - Tamarua (in goal)
6.40pm Raiders v Warriors - Donald (touch), Rehm (in goal)
7.05pm Roosters v Bulldogs - McMillan (touch)
7.30pm Broncos v Sharks - Donald (in goal)
Three tries and bruising defence have carried the NZ Kiwi Ferns
to a series victory over their Australia rivals at the Dick Smith
NRL Auckland Nines.
Entering Day Two with a 1-0 advantage in the three-game series,
the home team clinched overall honours with a 16-4 win in Game
Winger Janna Vaughan, who provided the gamewinning try in the
final minute yesterday, opened the scoring this time, after a
quickly taken penalty in midfield provided space out wide. Vaughan
ran an infield angle that carried her away from the chasing defence
and under crossbar for a five-point touchdown, converted by veteran
Australia replied soon afterwards for a 7-4 halftime scoreline,
but New Zealand extended their edge soon after the restart, when
Nora Maaka faked and jinked her way across for another
The Jillaroos had no response this time and their efforts often
met with a brick wall in the form of Mariu, whose tackling was a
particular feature of this performance.
As time ran out, co-captain Sarina Fiso sealed the result with a
try out wide and her side entered the third encounter with an
unassailable advantage in the series.
"We're hoping this event will invite people to come along and
give rugby league a go," Fiso said afterwards. "That's what we
"Nines is a very different game - not as much structure as we're
used to. Nines minutes doesn't sound like much, but it certainly
takes it out of you."
NZ Kiwi Ferns 16 (Janna Vaughan, Nora Maaka
& Sarina Fiso tries; Laura Mariu goal) Australia
Jillaroos 4 (Kellye Hodges try); HT: 7-4
Australia salvaged some consolation, when they snatched victory
in Game Three, with two second-half tries to Steph Hancock and
Vaughan scored her third try in as many games - a five-pointer,
converted by Mariu - to give the Ferns a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Again, the ferocity of their tackling had the Jillaroos on the
ropes, with Maitua Feterika the standout this time.
But their rivals' pace eventually tolled, with Bromyley scoring
in the final seconds to steal the win.
Mariu was named Player of the Series.
"Obviously, everyone loves big hits," admitted coach Rusty
Matua. "But it was really important for us to show the general
public that the girls can play at this level.
"We were aiming for a clean sweep, so we're disappointed, but
hopefully we've done enough to earn another invitation from the
Australia Jillaroos 8 (Steph Hancock &
Brittany Bromyley tries) NZ Kiwi Ferns 7 (Janna
Vaughan try; Laura Mariu goal); HT: 0-7
Rookie Janna Vaughan made her Kiwi Ferns debut a day
to remember, scoring the winning try, as the NZ women
snatched a late 8-4 result over Australia in their
opening encounter at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
Locked 4-4 entering the final minute, the home side created
space on the left wing for Vaughan to cross in a tackle for the
"I was thinking 'should I step back inside or back myself'," she
explained afterwards. "I decided to back my fend on this occasion -
I know I have a strong fend and I used it to my advantage.
"I had to finish it for my team, who had done all the hard yards
up the middle to give me the opportunity."
Although a relative league novice, Vaughan is no stranger to
physical confrontation - she's also national muay thai kickboxing
But, like her team-mates, playing before the biggest crowd of
their careers, she got off to a shaky start on the Eden Park
"My first catch went to ground and the nerves were definitely
there," said Vaughan. "It's very exciting to be here and coming
into the Kiwi Ferns at this time, when things are starting to get
The Australia Jillaroos began the more assured of the two teams
and took the upper hand when a crossfield kick provided Jenni-Sue
Hoepper plenty of space for the opening try.
But trailling 4-0 at halftime, Kiwi Ferns coach Rusty Matua
urged his charges to regroup. They created some chances of their
own, with winger Atawhai Tupaea dragged out in the corner and
unable to take advantage of an open field a few moments later.
"It was really about gaining composure," said Matua. "We had a
real dose of nerves at the start, with the noise of the crowd, the
atmosphere and the intensity of the Australians coming at us as
"Some of the girls didn't really realise how quickly they would
fatigue either, so it was a real learning curve for us."
The Ferns had been in this situation before, though. In their
trans-Tasman test in Wollongong last November, they had been on the
back foot through most of the game, but ground down their opponents
to snatch a famous last-minute victory.
This time, hooker Sharnita Woodman helped settle any jitters
with an opportunistic try early in the second half. Tuapaea tripped
over the defence while chasing a kick into the goal area, but the
ball stopped dead in the corner for Woodman to pounce on.
Then the backline gave Vaughan her chance, which she grabbed
with both hands (and a fend).
New Zealand and Australia face off again at 4.35pm Sunday, just
before the men's semifinals, with the third and final fixture
scheduled for 6.40pm, leading into the tournament final.
NZ Kiwi Ferns 8 (Sharnita Woodman & Janna
Vaughan tries) Australia Jillaroos 4 (Jenni-Sue
Hoepper try); HT: 0-4
Pirtek will continue to be the
biggest name on the NZ Kiwis jersey heading into the 2017 Rugby
League World Cup, after signing on as principal sponsor for another
A market leader with comprehensive portfolio of hydraulic
and industrial hose and fitting products, Pirtek is a prominent
supporter of rugby league on both sides of the Tasman and has been
part of the NZ Rugby League family since 2008.
This contract extension means Pirtek will have been
principal sponsor of the Kiwis through three World Cup tournaments,
including the 2008 success, and last year's Four Nations
"We pride ourselves on our reliability and customer
service, and we see many of those same qualities in this Kiwis
programme and its relationship with fans," says Pirtek New Zealand
general manager Chris Bourke.
"We feel, under the leadership chief executive Phil Holden
and coach Stephen Kearney, this team has a great shot at reclaiming
the World Cup and we're thrilled to be a part of that
"But we're also excited to support some of the other
initiatives that don't get the headlines, but make the rugby league
community a better place to live."
Pirtek will continue to support the NZRL
volunteer programme and will also invest in the game's youth,
through scholarships for junior players to NZRL
Bourke has also pledged greater involvement and
contribution from the Pirtek franchise network throughout New
"NZ Rugby League is so lucky to have partners like Pirtek,
through Chris Bourke and his franchisees, who never miss a chance
to attend our events and really show their support," says
"Words like 'team' and 'family' have special meaning in
our sport, and having people like Chris on our side gives us the
assurance we need to continue growing our great game."
Groundbreaking Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle knows all
too well the challenges facing women in sports administration.
After six years steering Netball NZ, Castle (44) has
successfully transitioned into the largely male domain of rugby
league and is an ideal role model for the women attending this
week's Women In League Workshop, held in conjunction with the NRL
Her best advice to her attentive audience?
"Promise me, when you look at a job or opportunity and look at
the list of things required, don't focus on the 10 things you can't
do," says Castle. "Look at the things you can do, because that's
how the blokes think."
The leap from the gentile game of netball to the smash &
bash of rugby league seems a massive one for the girl who grew up
in East Auckland and cycled past the Mad Butcher's house every day
on her way to school.
But dad Bruce Castle was Kiwi #407 and a national selector,
while mother Marlene represented New Zealand in bowls at four
Commonwealth Games, so sports was very much part of the family
Castle insists she is not just a "fan" and her success has come
off the back of 15 years working in the corporate sector with
market leaders like Fuji Xerox, Bank of New Zealand and
"In reality, I couldn't have done this job without that
commercial background," she says. "When you combine that CV and
business experience with my love and respect for rugby league, and
my understanding of the people and culture, I feel like I've come
home … I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be."
Castle insists that no-one within the rugby league community has
questioned her credentials for the job, even irascible Bulldogs
coach Des Hasler, who has a reputation for his fiery
"If you talk to anyone at the Bulldogs, I think they would say
'she's alright', which is about the biggest compliment you can
"I think they recognise I have the experience and capability to
do the business side, but can also have a conversation with Des
Hasler about football with some credibility."
But another tip Castle would give to women sports administrators
is to develop a support network that they can turn to for advice,
which is exactly what the Women In League Workshop was all
This was a chance for those attending to discuss the challenges
that face them in their roles, and provide some solutions and build
the relationships that would help them in their careers.
Workshop guests were Maria Allan (Howick Hornets), Paula Betham
(Marist Saints), Sharon Bird (Portland Panthers), Even Brooker
(Akarana Zone), Olivia Butt (New Lynn Stags), Ani Cherrington (Mt
Albert Lions), Theresa Christie (Bay Roskill), Nadene Conlon
(NZRL), Trudie Field (Manurewa Marlins), Rebecca Fletcher (Glenora
Bears), Karen Gibbons (Hibiscus Coast Raiders), Toni Haldane (Rugby
League Northland), April Harris (Manurewa Marlins), Polly Hati
(Manurewa Marlins), Junaita Hool (Takahiwai Warriors), Philippa
Ivory (NZRL), Luana Kem (Glenora Bears), Petrece Kesha (Vodafone
Warriors), Sarah Lewis (NZRL), Carol Loza (Glenora Bears), Valerie
Lui (Mangere East), Imogen Macartney (Akarana Zone), Poaru Martin
(Mangere East), Karla Matua (Manurewa Marlins/NZ Women's RL),
Maxine Moana-Tuwhangai (Upper Central Zone), Donna Moore (Te Atatu
Roosters), Renee Panapa (Bay Roskill), Georgina Peters (Papakura
Sea Eagles), Kerianne Phillips-Anaru (Howick Hornets), Marama
Puketapu (Te Aroha RL/NZ Universities), Raewyn Roberts (Howick
Hornets), Julia Rudolph-Karena (Akarana Zone), Tasha Tasmania
(Managere East), Stella Teariki (Wellington Zone), Susan Turner
(Bay Roskill), Tasha Tutaki (Bay Roskill), Natasha Warfield
(Vodafone Warriors) and Juanita Woodhouse (Auckland Rugby