Eagles and Storm fly under Nines radar

Manly, Melbourne and Cronulla go into the final day of the NRL Auckland Nines as the teams to beat after racking up back-to-back victories on day one on Saturday.

All three sides flew under the radar to be the only unbeaten sides going into Sunday’s final day at Eden Park.

While North Queensland looked ominous with their first-up thrashing of Newcastle and the Warriors showed their intent with an impressive 34-8 win over Canterbury, both fell to shock losses in the afternoon.

Melbourne five-eighth Blake Green was one of the standouts on day one, setting up two tries in their 14-4 defeat of Parramatta before again leading the way in their 18-12 win over South Sydney.

Cronulla scored easy victories over Gold Coast and St George Illawarra as utility Ben Barba showed promising signs with a sensational solo try in their 23-12 win over the Titans.

Manly scraped home in a pair of thrillers against Brisbane and Warriors, but are counting the costs after prop Jake Trbojevic and utility Jamie Buhrer were ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

Trbojevic (concussion) and Buhrer (suspected broken jaw) were both injured in their controversial clash with the Warriors.

Meanwhile, Jorge Taufua will not take part because of a hamstring complaint he suffered before the tournament and cannot be replaced, leaving the Sea Eagles with just 15 fit men.

Penrith back-rower Bryce Cartwright has shown he’s shaping for a big year, setting up three tries against the Tigers.

Rookie Cowboys winger Gideon Gala-Mosby crossed for four tries to be arguably the best player of the tournament so far, while fellow young gun and Sydney Roosters rising star Latrell Mitchell scored three.

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