Now that we’re closing in on the one year anniversary of our Auckland Nines Championship, let’s reminisce on that special weekend with highlights, photos and some stories!
The boys flew into Auckland on the Thursday afternoon with plenty of items on the agenda before a football was kicked.
Straight from the airport The Roosters had a special treat on the agenda when they were given the chance to visit Isaac Liu’s junior club, meet some fans and hear some stories about Isaac’s days in Auckland.
A special afternoon was had by the squad, but it was straight back to the hotel for a team meeting, some treatment and an early night before a big second day.
The Captain was up bright and early for a media call, followed by the Auckland Nines Fan Day, then straight into the Captain’s Run for the final training session.
It was a tough start to the tournament for the Roosters, going down in a 15-27 loss to a star-studded Cowboys outfit in the first game.
There was no time to wallow though, as the boys would have another challenge that afternoon when they were set to face the Rabbitohs to close out day one.
It was a much improved performance in game two as the Roosters were still in the hunt to make the finals after a nice 14-7 win.
The following morning would present an important challenge for the boys if they were any chance to make the finals.
Ricky Stuart’s Raiders were the game three opponent, and some Latrell Mitchell magic alongside a complete team performance would result in a MASSIVE win for the boys and a secured spot in the Quarter Finals.
QUARTER FINALS | V BRONCOS
After missing out on the finals in the year prior, the boys were hungry to compete against a Broncos side that was loaded with first grade talent.
The Roosters were red hot in the first half and looked set to run away with a victory.
Tries to Chris Smith, Connor Watson and Ryan Matterson looked to seal the deal for the young Roosters outfit, but Wayne Bennett’s Broncos had other plans in mind.
Three unanswered tries to the Broncos in the second half would see the lead shrink to one point and a drop goal would be the answer to a quarter finals victory.
Jordan Kahu was unable to kick the goal before the shotclock expired and the Roosters walked away with a narrow win and a spot in the semi finals against a determined Melbourne Storm outfit.
SEMI FINALS | V STORM
Arguably the game of the whole series, the Roosters had their second biggest challenge of the tournament when they went against a Melbourne Storm side that upset the Cowboys in the Quarter Finals.
It was a similar story to the Broncos clash as the Roosters came out on fire in the first half looking unstoppable.
The opening Joseph Manu try on the back of a smooth Chris Smith offload was the perfect way to start a clash that would go right down to the wire.
Daniel Tupou would score a length-of-the-field try for their second of the game in the opening six minutes to take a handy early lead.
Josh Addo-Carr scored to close out the half, but Daniel Tupou raced over for his second of the game to open the second half and continue his impressive Nines form.
Back-to-back tries for the Storm at the back end of the half would see the Roosters behind with just minutes left on the clock.
The MVP of the tournament Connor Watson was not willing to call it quits yet though and would send Bernard Lewis through a line off the kick off with a perfect ball to send the Roosters to the Grand Final.
GRAND FINAL | V PANTHERS
The final challenge of the tournament was in the final game as the Roosters would look to topple a young and exciting Panthers outfit to claim their first ever Auckland Nines title.
The Roosters sealed their first heart-stopping win of the finals series with a massive first half, followed by an impressive defensive effort in the second.
It was just a goal the different, but the Roosters claimed their first Nines championship in what was NO DOUBT an excellent and memorable weekend for the Club.
Connor Watson was awarded the MVP of the series, while Captain Mitchell Aubusson was incredibly proud of his side’s efforts as expressed in the emotional interview below.
Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, Roosters fans!