LIVE from NRL Auckland Nines

01 February 2015

Catch the action as it happens from the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park ...


Janna Vaughan, who scored yesterday's gamewinner, opens the scoring for the Kiwi Ferns this time and they lead 7-4 at halftime.

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 advantage.

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 Sharks.

Next up, Game Two between the NZ Kiwi Ferns and Australia Jillaroos.

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 stage.

We will have new champions at the NRL Nines, with North Queensland eliminated 17-11 by Parramatta in the first quarterfinal.

The scores were deadlocked 11-11 entering the final minute, but Corey Norman crossed for the winning try and converted to guide his Eels through.

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 quarterfinals.

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 24-4.

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 correctly.

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 North Queensland.

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 first day.

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 each.

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 shot-clock innovation.

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.



Game Time Team Team
17 11.10am Eels 10
Dragons 12
18 11.35am Sea Eagles 17
Knights 20
19 Noon Storm 4
Rabbitohs 24
20 12.25pm Cowboys 14
Panthers 8
21 12.50pm Tigers 8
Warriors 22
22 1.15pm Raiders 13
Titans 38
23 1.40pm Roosters 14
Sharks 20
24 2.05pm Broncos 13
Bulldogs 0
25 2.30pm Eels 17
Cowboys 11
26 2.55pm Knights 6
Rabbitohs 30
27 3.45pm Tigers 4
Roosters 22
28 4.10pm Warriors 12
Sharks 14
W2 4.35pm NZ Kiwi Ferns Australian Jillaroos
29 5.25pm Eels Rabbitohs
30 5.50pm Roosters Sharks
W3 6.40pm NZ Kiwi Ferns Australian Jillaroos
31 7.30pm Winners Game 29 Winners Game 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 halftime.

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 time.

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 throat.

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 Dragons.

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 heorics.

Debutant Janna Vaughan crosses for the winning try, as the Kiwi Ferns go one up over their Australia rivals in their three-game international series.

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.

Game highlightes here.

Young Kiwi prospect Fa'amanu Brown opens the scoring for a much improved Cronulla Sharks in their 15-4 win over Canterbury Bulldogs.

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 pass.

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 win.

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 particularly poignant.

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 year.

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 here.

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 Eagles opener.


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 LIVE.

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.




Game Time Team Team
1 12.30pm Eels 22
Sea Eagles 17
2 12.55pm Knights 18
Dragons 7
3 1.20pm Storm 8
Cowboys 17
4 1.45pm Panthers 4
Rabbitohs 11
5 2.20pm Tigers 16
Raiders 10
6 2.45pm Titans 10
Warriors 17
7 3.10pm Roosters 6
Broncos 4
8 3.35pm Bulldogs 4
Sharks 15
W1 4pm NZ Kiwi Ferns 8
Australian Jillaroos 4
9 4.25pm Eels 19
Knights 15
10 4.50pm Sea Eagles 21
Dragons 25
11 5.15pm Storm 20
Panthers 4
12 5.40pm Cowboys12 Rabbitohs 19
13 6.15pm Tigers 26
Titans 0
14 6.40pm Raiders 23
Warriors 19
15 7.05pm Roosters 10
Bulldogs 6
16 7.30pm Broncos 4
Sharks 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 (in goal)

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 (in goal)

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)



Game Time Team Team
17 11.10am Eels Dragons
18 11.35am Sea Eagles Knights
19 Noon Storm Rabbitohs
20 12.25pm Cowboys Panthers
21 12.50pm Tigers Warriors
22 1.15pm Raiders Titans
23 1.40pm Roosters Sharks
24 2.05pm Broncos Bulldogs
25 2.30pm Rangitoto 1 Waiheke 2
26 2.55pm Rangitoto 2 Waiheke 1
27 3.45pm Hunua 1 Piha 2
28 4.10pm Hunua 20 Piha 1
W2 4.35pm NZ Kiwi Ferns Australian Jillaroos
29 5.25pm Winners Game 25 Winners Game 26
30 5.50pm Winners Game 27 Winners Game 28
W3 6.40pm NZ Kiwi Ferns Australian Jillaroos
31 7.30pm Winners Game 29 Winners Game 30



Kiwi Ferns strike late for Nines win

31 January 2015

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 deciding points.

"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 champion.

But, like her team-mates, playing before the biggest crowd of their careers, she got off to a shaky start on the Eden Park stage.

"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 professional."

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 well.

"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

Game highlightes here.

Pirtek extends support of NZRL

30 January 2015

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 three years.

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 victory.

"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 campaign.

"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 Logo Blue Background_HiResPirtek will continue to support the NZRL volunteer programme and will also invest in the game's youth, through scholarships for junior players to NZRL Academies.

Bourke has also pledged greater involvement and contribution from the Pirtek franchise network throughout New Zealand.

"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 Holden.

"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."

Castle inspires Women In League

30 January 2015

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 Auckland Nines.

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 tradition.

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 Telecom.

"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 temperament.

"If you talk to anyone at the Bulldogs, I think they would say 'she's alright', which is about the biggest compliment you can get.

"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 about.

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 League).

Anzac Test locked in for Suncorp

29 January 2015

Brisbane and the Gold Coast will host a stand-alone weekend of representative rugby league in May, including trans Tasman encounters for NZ Kiwis, Kiwi Ferns and Junior Kiwis.

Suncorp Stadium will host the traditional Anzac Test between New Zealand and Australia men on Friday, May 1, supported by Tourism and Events Queensland.

The encounter will the only international match between the Kiwis and Kangaroos this year, and will be a key game in rugby league's programme of events to commemorate the 100 th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli.

The stand-alone representative weekend will be a significant part of the NRL's 2015 season calendar, to be launched in Auckland tonight.

The Kiwi Ferns women will also take on the Jillaroos at Suncorp Stadium, as a curtainraiser to the men's game, while the Junior Kiwis face the Junior Kangaroos in the first of three international fixtures set down for Gold Coasts' Cbus Super Stadium, the following night.

All three NZ teams enjoyed success against their Aussie rivals in 2014.

Pacific powerhouses Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea will also be part of a Gold Coast tripleheader on Saturday May 2. The PNG Kumuls will take on Fiji Bati, before Samoa return to the international stage, following their successful Four Nations campaign, against traditional rivals Tonga.

NRL commercial head Paul Kind says the fact that six nations would be playing across the weekend across the men's and women's game highlighted the diversity and reach of rugby league.

"This is a significant weekend on our calendar and we are delighted that Queensland will be the focus of it," says Kind.

The stand-alone round ensures all NRL players will be eligible for selection (pending injury), setting the stage for a weekend of international rugby league at its very best.