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NRL Nines day two: How it all unfolded

All the fixtures, match reports, highlights videos and talking points, as they happened, from the second and final day of the 2020 NRL Nines at HBF Park, Perth.

The Dragons suffered a double injury blow with Korbin Sims (arm) and Matt Dufty (cheek) both set for extended stints on the sideline.

The Cowboys were the last ones standing when the dust settled, although they also have an injury worry over Origin forward Josh McGuire (knee).

The biggest talking point was a dubious try that sent the Dragons into the semi-final and left the Panthers seething.

In the women’s competition the Dragons stole the limelight from pre-tournament hotshots Brisbane.

NRL Nines Final: Cowboys 23, Dragons 14

North Queensland halfback Jake Clifford saved his best for last, leading the Cowboys to a 23-14 triumph in Sunday night’s Nines final.

After solid if not spectacular performances during the tournament, Clifford starred in the decider with a smart try in the second half and a spectacular try-saving tackle on Dragons winger Jason Saab in the first half.

With hooker Jake Granville cleverly guiding his team’s attack, the Cowboys grabbed a 6-0 lead with a converted try to Coen Hess.

The Dragons quickly regrouped and replied with an unconverted try to Jason Nightingale before getting their noses in front with Makaele Ravalawa’s unconverted try.

But the Cowboys had the final word of the half with Reece Robson’s bonus zone try.

Clifford’s converted try extended the lead to 19-8 but a try to Dragons forward Josh Kerr set up an exciting finish.

The Cowboys put the match out of reach with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow’s runaway try in the bonus zone.


Women's Final: Dragons 28, Broncos 4

Match Highlights: Broncos v Dragons

The St George Illawarra Dragons caused a major boilover with a shock 28-4 thrashing of the previously unbeaten Brisbane Broncos in the women’s Nines final.

Brisbane were widely tipped to be too strong in the decider but the Dragons had other ideas, claiming the title with a decisive five tries-to-one romp.

The Dragons aggressively took it to their opponents from the kick-off and the strategy seemed to have the desired effect, as the Broncos struggled to get into the game.

St George grabbed a 4-0 lead with Isabelle Kelly’s try, while Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa’amausili crossed three minutes before the break, with player of the tournament Maddie Studdon converting for an unlikely 10-0 lead over the favourites.

The Dragons weren’t done there, extending the lead to 17-0 at half-time with a bonus zone try to Kezie Apps.

The skipped away to a 21-0 lead before Jayme Fressard scored what would be Brisbane’s only try.

St George Illawarra finished the match in style, with Maddison Weatherall touching down for a bonus zone try.

NRL Cowboys 19, Titans 8

Match Highlights: Titans v Cowboys

The North Queensland Cowboys will square off with St George Illawarra in tonight’s tournament final after knocking out the Titans 19-8 in the second semi-final.

Both teams carried identical 3-0 records into the semi-final and it was anyone’s guess in terms of picking a winner.

North Queensland broke the early deadlock with Kyle Feldt’s fourth-minute bonus zone try. Feldt converted his own handiwork for a 7-0 lead.

The Titans got on the board just before the break, with winger Greg Leleisiuao scoring in the corner to cut the Cowboys’ lead to 7-4 at half-time.

But they were no match for their opponents in the second half.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow raced away for a try, while further tries to Shane Wright and Scott Drinkwater put the result beyond doubt.

The Titans grabbed a consolation try in the final seconds through Jai Whitbread and should come away from the tournament with plenty of positives for first-year coach Justin Holbrook.

NRL Dragons 8, Eels 6

Match Highlights: Eels v Dragons

Centre Tim Lafai crashed over for a try in the dying seconds to lift St George Illawarra to a heart-stopping 8-6 win over Parramatta and into the final.

The Eels went into the tournament as title favourites and were moments away from clinching a place in the decider when Lafai stole their thunder at the death.

The win avenged a 15-7 loss to Parra earlier in the day.

St George Illawarra scored first, with Lafai sending Mikaele Ravalawa over for a try midway through the first half.

The Eels remained scoreless before Jaeman Salmon finished off a slick sequence late in the half that went from one side of the field to the other. Mitch Moses converted for a 6-4 half-time lead.

Defence dominated attack in the second half, as both teams searched for an all-important second try.

The Dragons had their prayers answered and face the winner of the second semi-final between the Cowboys and Titans.

NRLW Roosters 14, Dragons 13

Match Highlights: Dragons v Roosters

St George Illawarra booked themselves a showdown with the unbeaten Brisbane Broncos in the final, despite losing to the Sydney Roosters 14-13 in the final pool game of the women’s tournament.

The Roosters had to win by at least 18 points to qualify for the final and were fighting an even steeper uphill battle after falling behind 13-0 at half-time.

But they continued to challenge the Dragons, who appeared to drop their guard after the break.

Hannah Southwell sparked the fightback with a try, while the margin was cut to 13-8 when Corban McGregor scored the Roosters’ second try moments later.

The Roosters snatched an unlikely win when Zahara Temara touched down in the bonus zone to make it 13-12. Temara then kicked the match-winning conversion from a penalty.

Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa’amausili scored the game’s first try, with Maddie Studdon’s conversion making it 6-0.

The Dragons extended the margin to 13-0 with Keeley Davis scoring a bonus zone try.

But the Dragons didn’t score again and will need to raise the bar if they are going to beat tournament favourites Brisbane in tonight’s decider.

NRLW Broncos 25, Warriors 4

Match Highlights: Broncos v Warriors

Jayme Fressard scored a hat-trick in the Brisbane Broncos’ 25-4 demolition of the Warriors in the women’s competition.

Brisbane worked their way to an 11-0 half-time lead before taking a stranglehold on the match with Jess Elliston’s bonus zone try early in the second half.

The Warriors never stopped trying and were rewarded with a try to Charlette Butler, but the Broncos answered with Fressard’s third try to claim a comfortable victory.

The Broncos progressed to the final and are expected to face the Dragons.

NRL Cowboys 20, Rabbitohs 6

Match Highlights: Cowboys v Rabbitohs

A knee injury to Queensland Origin rep Josh McGuire took some of the shine off the Cowboys’ convincing 20-6 win over South Sydney in the fourth quarter-final.

North Queensland coach Paul Green will be hoping McGuire receives encouraging news when he undergoes scans, but the initial diagnosis was a damaged medial ligament.

The Cowboys out-muscled and out-hustled the Rabbitohs from start to finish, taking a 13-0 lead into the second half and sealing the deal with Scott Drinkwater’s bonus zone try five minutes from full-time.

The unbeaten Cowboys came out with the same focus they showed in their previous two wins and grabbed an early 7-0 lead with a bonus zone try to Coen Hess.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow brought the crowd to its feet when he scored a try on the final play of the half for a 13-0 lead.

The Bunnies were in danger of being held scoreless before Jaxson Paulo scored his team’s only try a minute from full-time.


NRL Titans 24, Sea Eagles 0

Match Highlights: Titans v Sea Eagles

The Gold Coast Titans advanced to the semi-finals in no uncertain terms, cruising to a 24-0 rout of Manly in the third quarter-final.

The Titans scored six tries-to-nil and will take a perfect 3-0 record into the semis after wins over the Raiders and Tigers.

South Sydney-bound forward Jai Arrow got the ball rolling for the Titans, scoring the first try for a 4-0 lead after two minutes.

Bryce Cartwright caught his own chip behind the defence minutes later and sent a pass to Phil Sami for Gold Coast’s second try.

The Sea Eagles were in trouble when Tyrone Peachey put Sami away for his second try and the lead swelled to 16-0 at half-time with Jonus Pearson’s try.

Any chance of a Manly revival evaporated when Titans captain Mitch Rein darted over from dummy-half for his team’s fifth try. Ash Taylor couldn’t convert but the lead was 20-0 with five minutes remaining.

Veteran winger Anthony Don added a cherry on top when he crossed for the Titans’ sixth try.

NRL Dragons 17, Panthers 14

Match Highlights: Dragons v Panthers

Unknown winger Cody Ramsey stamped his name into Nines folklore with a hat-trick of tries to give the Dragons a controversial 17-14 defeat of the Panthers in the second quarter-final.

Ramsey scored the match-winning try in the corner in the dying seconds, as the Panthers disputed the decision to award the try.

Hard-running back-rower Viliame Kikau appeared to have broken the Dragons’ hearts with a late try, but Ramsey completed his hat-trick, despite replays showing the 20-year-old had not grounded the ball in the field of play.

The Dragons had the upper hand at half-time, with Ramsey’s opening try providing a 7-0 lead at the break.

Penrith had a try disallowed after a Dragons player was held without the ball, while a second try was called back for a forward pass.

The Dragons launched a quick counter-attack, with Ramsey showing off his blistering pace to break the deadlock with a bonus zone try.

Panthers hooker Api Koroisau gave his side an ideal start to the second half, darting between defenders for a converted try to make it 7-6.

Ramsey was in the spotlight again when he scored his second try in the corner with five minutes remaining. Tristan Sailor converted from the sideline for a 13-6 lead.

Koroisau’s second try set the stage for a thrilling finish with his second try, but the Dragons had the last laugh.

NRL Eels 14, Knights 7

Match Highlights: Knights v Eels

Parramatta became the first team through to the semi-finals after overcoming the previously unbeaten Newcastle Knights 14-7 in the opening quarter-final.

Off-season recruit Ryan Matterson’s early try put the Eels on the front foot.

Parra had their second try in the seventh minute, with towering backrower Shaun Lane putting it on a plate for Haze Dunster to score. Brad Takairani converted for a 10-0 half-time lead, leaving the undefeated Knights with plenty of work to do in the second half.

Newcastle got exactly the start they needed when Tex Hoy raced 70m to claim a crucial bonus zone try, trimming the deficit to 10-7.

The Eels gave themselves breathing space with Blake Ferguson’s try and they kept their line intact in the closing minutes to claim victory.

NRL Broncos 12, Storm 8

Match Highlights: Broncos v Storm

Brisbane came from behind to claim their first victory of the tournament, beating Melbourne 12-8 after some superb kicking by Jamayne Isaako.

The Broncos were down 8-0 at half-time before taking control in the second half.

Melbourne opened the scoring with Tino Fa’Asuamaleaui and Dean Ieremia both crossing to give Melbourne an 8-0 half-time lead.

The Broncos were a different team after the break, as Isaako scored out wide and converted his own try to make it 8-6.

Brisbane grabbed a 12-8 lead two minutes later, with Kotoni Staggs touching down. Isaako added the extras again from a difficult angle, as the Storm remained winless.

NRL Cowboys 10, Sea Eagles 7

Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Cowboys

The North Queensland Cowboys will take an unbeaten record into the quarter-finals after toughing it out for a dour 10-7 victory over Manly.

After upstaging the Broncos on day one, the Cowboys made it two from two, with Tom Opacic and Murray Taulagi crossing for tries.

The Cowboys diffused a couple of early Manly raids before Scott Drinkwater’s perfectly placed crosskick found an unmarked Opacic for the opening try.

Manly halfback Luke Metcalf produced a moment of brilliance, kicking ahead and winning a 50m race to the ball to touch down in the bonus zone to make it 7-4.

The Cowboys forged ahead 10-7 with Taulagi’s converted try moments before the break. Manly forward Zac Saddler was sinbinned on the stroke of half-time.

The Cowboys will now meet the Rabbitohs in the quarter-finals.

NRL Titans 14, Tigers 13 

Match Highlights: Titans v Wests Tigers

Ash Taylor answered the bell in crunch time, scoring a solo try to seal the Titans’ 14-13 triumph over the Tigers.

Both teams entered the match with confidence after wins over the Raiders and Rabbitohs on day one.

The Tigers had their chances but the Titans defended strongly and thoroughly deserved their win.

Jai Whitbread crashed over for the game’s first try, with Tyrone Peachey converting for a 6-0 lead after three minutes.

Peachey sent Phil Sami over for the Titans’ second try before the Tigers closed the gap to 10-6 at half-time with Luke Garner’s converted try.

Taylor scored with three minutes remaining before the Tigers grabbed a consolation bonus zone try through David Nofoaluma as the full-time siren sounded.

NRL Rabbitohs 29, Raiders 8

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Raiders

The Rabbitohs bounced back in style, atoning for Friday’s game one loss to the Tigers with a comprehensive 29-8 defeat of the Raiders.

Canberra led 8-0 early before the Bunnies peeled off 29 unanswered points to give their quarter-finals aspirations a boost.

Scoring tries for Souths were Damien Cook, Lachlan Ilias, Blake Taaffe, Dane Gagai, Campbell Graham and Bryson Goodwin.

Harley Smith-Shields and Daine Spencer crossed for the Raiders, who are winless after two games.

NRL Eels 15, Dragons 7

Match Highlights: Eels v Dragons

The Dragons lost star fullback Matt Dufty to a suspected fractured cheekbone in the opening seconds of the match after a head clash.

Dufty chased a short kick-off by Ben Hunt and clashed heads with Ray Stone as he tried to regather the kick. 

The only points of the first half went to the Eels through a late try to Haze Dunster.

Dufty injured against Eels

Cody Ramsey got the Dragons on the board early in the second half before the Eels took control late in the match.

Both sides have progressed to the quarter-finals.

The Eels will face the Knights while the Dragons will come up against the Panthers.

NRL Sharks 25, Bulldogs 4

Match Highlights: Sharks v Bulldogs

After Jake Averillo opened the scoring for the Bulldogs it was the Sharks who took total control to rack up a big win.

Speedster Ronaldo Mulitalo capitalised on good lead-up from Sione Katoa to race away and score before Chad Townsend scooted across for a bonus zone try.

Josh Morris then grabbed a rapid fire double to give the Sharks a 19-4 lead at the break before the veteran centres turned back the clock with a superb kick and chase to make it a hat-trick late in the match.

NRL Roosters 14, Warriors 8

Match Highlights: Roosters v Warriors

A hat-trick to McKenzie Baker catapulted the young Roosters outfit to a good win over the Warriors.

After Paul Turner got the Warriors off to the perfect start it was all the Roosters as they turned things around from a huge loss to the Panthers on day one.

Baker's second try came off great lead-up work from Freddy Lussick.

The defeat left the Warriors winless after two matches and in a further blow centre Taane Milne suffered a suspected broken nose after a heavy collision.

NRL Knights 16, Panthers 4

Match Highlights: Knights v Panthers

The Knights continued their impressive form with a 16-4 win over the Panthers.

A try to Liam Martin gave Panthers the early lead before Nathanael Sasagi crossed for Newcastle to level the scores at 4-4 at the break.

It was all the Knights in the second term as club legend Kurt Gidley put Jacob Saifiti in for a try before Tex Hoy got across the stripe for his second try of the weekend to leave Adam O'Brien's men sitting pretty on top of Pool 1.

NRLW Dragons 29, Warriors 7

Match Highlights: Warriors v Dragons

Maddie Studdon played a leading role as the Dragons got their Nines campaign back on track with a 29-7 win over the Warriors.

The Dragons took an 11-7 into the half-time break and a bonus zone try to Sam Bremner set up by Studdon saw them stretch that out to 18-7.

Brittany Breayley then finished off more good lead-up work by Studdon to score before Bo Vette-Welsh got her name on the tryscoring list as the final score blew out to 29-7.

NRLW Broncos 16, Roosters 0

Match Highlights: Roosters v Broncos

A double to Tamika Upton has helped the Broncos make it two from two with a strong win over the Roosters.

The reigning NRLW premiers opened their Nines campaign with a 13-6 win over the Dragons on Friday and Upton's speed ensured they would remain unbeaten as she bagged a bonus zone try in the opening term and grabbed a second after the break.

Hayley Maddick put the icing on the cake with a late try.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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