Last Time at the Nines
With the 2015 Auckland Nines Tournament just days away, we look at the Rabbitohs’ first foray into the reduced format of the game in the 2014 tournament.
The Rabbitohs finished the first ever Auckland Nines Tournament with a Quarter Finals berth, after showing plenty of promise, speed, agility and creativity in the pool stages.
In four matches, the men in red and green came away with two wins and two losses, eventually bowing out against a red-hot home-side in the form of the New Zealand Warriors.
On day one of the Tournament, the Rabbitohs began their campaign with an impressive win over the St George Illawarra Dragons by 23-4 in a match that showed a wide variety of the Rabbitohs’ arsenal. But it wasn’t all fair sailing, with the side going down to the Storm by 18-12 in their second match of the day.
There was however enough in the two performances to be proud of. In total, John Sutton set up three tries with the boot, while Dylan Walker and Luke Keary showed plenty of promise with both players proving to be among the most dangerous in the competition with their speed and aggressive attack.
On day two, playing against a Panthers side that would eventually go on to take the Pool on for and against, the Rabbitohs defeated the gritty Penrith outfit, 18-16 in Game 24 to book themselves a place in the finals.
But while the Rabbitohs came away with the win, it came at a high cost with Luke Keary suffering a pectoral injury that would ultimately rule him out for much of the 2014 season.
The side soldiered on though, setting up a showdown with tournament hosts and then-favourites, the New Zealand Warriors. The Warriors were as yet an undefeated outfit, and they proved just why during the course of match.
The men in red and green had a chance to square the match up with mere minutes left with a bonus-zone try. The side managed a regulation try outside the bonus-zone, ending the match and the Rabbitohs’ Nines campaign by just a single point at 17-16.