The South Sydney Rabbitohs have been crowned Auckland Nines champions after defeating the Cronulla Sharks in a thrilling extra time Final.
In a fairy-tale for the returning Matt King, the former Origin and Test representative was the man to score the Club’s winning try after a nerve-wracking 10 minutes of extra time.
Adam Reynolds picked up where he left off in the previous games by forcing a repeat set from the very beginning and after some controlled lead-up work, Bryson Goodwin opened the scoring out wide courtesy of a cross-field kick from Dylan Walker. Adam Reynolds converted to make it 6-0.
But the Sharks hit straight back through Siosaia Feki, who broke through the red and green defence down the sideline to score and make it 6-4.
In the dying second of the first half, Chris Grevsmuhl pulled off an incredible charge down before regathering the ball to streak 30 metres untouched to score, taking the teams to the break with Souths holding a 10-4 lead.
On the resumption, Reynolds continued to apply pressure on Cronulla with some brilliant tactical kicking, but it was Cronulla who would be next to score through Valentine Holmes after a regathered Sharks line-drop-out, making it 10-8.
A penalty to the Rabbitohs resulted in Cameron McInnes being set up for a strong four-pointer right next to the sticks to make it 14-8.
Inside the final minute of the match Jack Bird scored a four-pointer out wide to give the Sharks a chance to level the scores up. The Sharks kicked a booming conversion from the touch-line to send the game to extra time.
In extra time, Adam Reynolds swung the pendulum in his sides favour with a massive forty-twenty, but the Rabbitohs weren’t able to score off the chance, nor from the ensuing chances despite having all the possession.
Joel Reddy then seemed to score a legitimate try, but the four-pointer was disallowed thanks to a forward pass call.
But in a fairy-tale finish, after determined play from both sides, Matt King capped off his Auckland Nines by winning the Rabbitohs the match with his try courtesy of Issac Luke by 18-14.
Rabbitohs 18 (Bryson Goodwin, Chris Grevsmuhl, Cameron McInnes, Matt King, tries; Adam Reynolds 1 goal)
Sharks 14 (Siosaia Feki, Valentine Holmes, Jack Bird tries; Valentine Holmes 1 goal)