Auckland 9’s

It was billed as The Greatest Weekend and the Auckland Nines delivered on that promise.

Both the format and the event – won by the North Queensland Cowboys 16-7 over the Brisbane Broncos – succeeded on a sun-soaked weekend, with the future of the tournament appearing as bright as Sam Tomkins’ radiant orange boots.

Each squad included at least 12 of their top 25 players in their squad, and at least one marquee player. The winner of the tournament received A$500,000 with a total prize pool of A$2,250,000.

The weather helped and so did the decision to play during the day, with the final games ending before 8pm. The stadium was full early in the afternoon; many fans went looking for a vantage point gathering in and around the big screen viewing platform located at the transport and entertainment quarter of Auckland at the Viaduct.