Sydney Roosters Win The 2017 Auckland 9s

What a final!


5 February 2017

Article heading image for Sydney Roosters Win The 2017 Auckland 9s

Image: @FOXSportsNRL

The Sydney Roosters have claimed a shock Auckland Nines title after defeating Penrith in a nail-biting 10-8 final at Eden Park.

The Roosters looked to have the result in the bag when they lead 10 - 0 late in the decider.

But tries to Malakai Watene-Zeleozniak, and then Nathan Cleary in the final minute, gave back-up playmaker Darren Nicholls an opportunity to send the game into the golden-try period.

But Nicholls sent his conversion attempt wide, handing the Roosters a maiden nines title.

The Panthers went into the decider as favourites, but saved their best for last and were handed their first loss of the weekend by a Roosters side that ran rampant on day two.

Penrith were guilty of poor handling in their own territory early in the contest, and the Roosters made them pay through tries to Daniel Tupou and Bernard Lewis.

The Panthers fought back bravely but fell short against a Roosters side that were humbled 27 - 15 in their first match by pre-tournament favourites North Queensland.

After only clinching the quarter-final spot with a 21 - 0 win over Canberra early on Sunday, the Roosters were also lucky to progress into the final four.

Brisbane kicker Jordan Kahu gave the Roosters a gift passage into the final four after his successful conversation was frozen out by the shot-clock in a dramatic 15 - 14 loss.

The Roosters then beat Melbourne 21 - 16 thanks to a Lewis try on the final play of the semi-final.

Roosters utility Connor Watson was named player of the tournament.

"It's a bit unexpected to win this award. I owe it to my team. No one really thought we'd make it in this tournament but we always knew we had the ability to," Watson said.

- AAP

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