Premiers North Queensland have picked up where they left off, setting the pace early in the NRL Auckland Nines with a 28-12 thumping of Newcastle at Eden Park on Saturday.
Gavin Cooper crossed for a hat-trick, Matt Bowen proved he still has plenty of spark while speedster Gideon Galea-Mosby showed why he’s one of the most exciting young talents in the game.
Galea-Mosby crossed with his first touch of the ball, scored again in the shadows of halftime to give the reigning NRL premiers an 18-0 halftime lead before being taken off for the second half.
North Queensland legend Bowen, returning for a guest appearance, brought the crowd to his feet when he stepped through the Knights’ defence and despite being over the line, handed it off to Cooper.
Defending NRL Auckland Nines champions South Sydney opened their account with a 14-13 win over the Sydney Roosters but received a scare when Alex Johnston jarred his shoulder.
Johnston went from the field in the second half of the tournament opener but returned to the bench soon after and has been cleared by Rabbitohs medical officials of serious injury.
The two sides went try-for-try in the first half with exciting Roosters youngster Latrell Mitchell giving a glimpse of his talent when he backed up on the inside to score his side’s first before veteran Braith Anasta crossed soon after.
The Roosters held a 13-8 lead with two minutes to go before Daniel Tupou made a mess of a grubber kick on his line and Michael Oldfield dived on the scraps to hand his side the win.
Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster set up two tries in his side’s comprehensive 14-4 win over Parramatta.
Bryce Cartwright set up three tries – including two for Waqa Blake – to spearhead Penrith to a 23-7 win over the Wests Tigers.