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Championship Anniversary | 2017 NRL Nines

To celebrate the three year anniversary of our Auckland Nines Championship, let's reminisce on that special weekend with a full recap of the tournament that was for the Sydney Roosters.

There was plenty to remember and celebrate from the tournament, and we're going to recap with photos, highlights, interviews and match recaps from the special two day tournament at Eden Park.

In order to tell the full story and background of the Auckland Nines, we have to go back to the Thursday (two days prior to kick off) when the Roosters landed to begin their campaign. 

Post Nines Grand Final celebrations!
Post Nines Grand Final celebrations!
NINES SQUAD
Aidan Guerra
Bernard Lewis
Brendan Frei
Chris Smith
Connor Watson
Dale Copley
Daniel Tupou
Isaac Liu
Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck
Joseph Manu
Kane Evans
Latrell Mitchell
Mitchell Aubusson (c)
Paul Carter
Paul Momirovski
Ryan Matterson
Victor Radley
Zane Tetevano

PRE NINES

The Roosters touched down in 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 rugby league 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 final training session to solidify their preparations.

Nines Fan Day 2017

DAY ONE

Mitchell Aubusson leads the Roosters out for their first game in the NRL Auckland Nines.
Mitchell Aubusson leads the Roosters out for their first game in the NRL Auckland Nines.

Up against the favourites of the tournament for their first match, it was a tough start for the Roosters.

They fell 15-27 against the star-studded Cowboys outfit.

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 kept their tournament chances alive with a solide 14-7 win.

DAY TWO

Daniel Tupou, the highest try scorer for the Roosters in the 2017 NRL Auckland Nines.
Daniel Tupou, the highest try scorer for the Roosters in the 2017 NRL Auckland Nines.

The following morning would present an important challenge for the boys if they were any chance to sneak their way into the playoffs. 

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 Roosters and a secured spot in the Quarter Finals.

The Rabbitohs and Raiders were out, the Roosters and Cowboys would advance to the Quarter Finals.

Isaac Liu offloads to Paul Momirovski against the Raiders.
Isaac Liu offloads to Paul Momirovski against the Raiders.

QUARTER FINALS | V BRONCOS

After missing out on the finals in the year prior, the Tricolours were hungry to compete against a Broncos side that was loaded with first grade talent.  

Auckland Nines | Roosters vs Broncos

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, 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 shot clock expired and the Roosters walked away with a narrow win and a spot in the semi finals against a determined Melbourne Storm outfit. 

Victor Radley throws a cut-out ball against the Broncos.
Victor Radley throws a cut-out ball against the Broncos.

SEMI FINALS | V STORM

Nines Captain Mitchell Aubusson takes the ball up strong.
Nines Captain Mitchell Aubusson takes the ball up strong.

Arguably the game of the tournament, the Roosters had their second biggest challenge of the Nines when they went against a Melbourne Storm side that upset the star-studded Cowboys in the Quarter Finals. 

Auckland Nines - Roosters V Storm

It was a similar story to the Broncos clash as the Roosters came out on fire in the first half, looking basically unstoppable.

The opening try from Joseph Manu was on the back of a smooth Chris Smith offload, a 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 gap out wide from the kick off to send him racing to the line and the Roosters to the Grand Final.

Bernard Lewis scores the try of the tournament to send the Roosters to the Grand Final
Bernard Lewis scores the try of the tournament to send the Roosters to the Grand Final

GRAND FINAL | V PANTHERS

Auckland Nines - Roosters 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.

Aubusson shows the Nines trophy to the Auckland crowd.
Aubusson shows the Nines trophy to the Auckland crowd.

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 difference, but the Roosters claimed their first Nines championship in what was NO DOUBT an excellent and memorable weekend for the Club.

Connor Watson shows us his MVP medal.
Connor Watson shows us his MVP medal.

Connor Watson was awarded the MVP of the series after an outstanding showing for the Tricolours every time he took to the field.

Captain Mitchell Aubusson was incredibly proud of his side's efforts which he expressed in the emotional interview below.

Aubusson Talks Nines After Grand Final Win

Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, Roosters fans! 

We'll look to go again when we take off to Perth next week for the return of the NRL Nines.

The Roosters squad sing the team song after claiming the 2017 NRL Nines trophy.
The Roosters squad sing the team song after claiming the 2017 NRL Nines trophy.