Auckland Nines: Warriors fall in semis

Warriors David Fusitua? scores their first try against the Cowboys in the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park, Auckland.16 February 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Richard Robinson.
Warriors David Fusitua? scores their first try against the Cowboys in the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park, Auckland.16 February 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Richard Robinson.

The Warriors have been bundled out in the semifinals of the inaugural Auckland Nines, beaten 8-0 by the Cowboys at Eden Park this evening.

After leading the competition is scoring and qualifying for the finals as the only unbeaten side, the Warriors' attack drew a blank against a staunch Cowboys rearguard.

It was the two teams' second meeting of the day after the Warriors took a 28-23 victory in their final pool game, with the Warriors unable to replicate that success when it mattered.

Several players slumped to the turf at the final hooter and the previously boisterous sell-out crowd at the stadium fell silent.

That may have been more in shock than anything, given the respective sides' form heading into the match-up. The Cowboys were the only team to qualify for the quarter-finals with only one win, before edging Penrith 22-12 in the final eight.

The Warriors, meanwhile, had set the tournament alight with some scintillating attack, with their only real cause for concern being a propensity to leak tries. That almost cost them in their quarter-final against the Rabbitohs, when a pair of late tries brought the final margin to 17-16.

If they showed signs of tiring in that game, that was only further evident against the Cowboys. The attack fell flat, rarely seriously threatening the North Queensland line, while tries from Kyle Feldt and Javid Bowen proving the difference.

It was the Warriors' third match of the day and such a format may mean the team who triumphs will be the one who can deal with fatigue the most capably.

The Cowboys may prove to be that side and they will play the Broncos in the final at 7.30pm, after Brisbane advanced with a 18-14 victory over the Sharks in the other semifinal.

- APNZ

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