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Warriors, Cowboys fall at Nines

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/02/2015
Warriors © Getty Images Warriors

AUCKLAND, NZN - Hot favourites the Warriors and defending champions North Queensland have been knocked out of the Auckland Nines.

An underrated Cronulla have pulled off the upset of the tournament, edging out Shaun Johnson's Warriors 14-12 in their quarter-final to silence a packed Eden Park.

A no name Sharks outfit are on track to provide a welcome feel good story following the supplements saga, booking a semi-final showdown with a star studded Sydney Roosters.

In the other semi-final, an injury-hit Parramatta will take on heavyweights South Sydney.

Halfback Mitchell Pearce scored two tries to steer the Roosters to a 22-4 romp over surprise packets the Wests Tigers in their quarter-final.

An Adam Reynolds-inspired Rabbitohs flexed their muscle against the Knights, piling on 17 unanswered points to thrash Newcastle 30-6 - their fourth straight win.

Eels playmaker Corey Norman scored two tries and set up another to help Parramatta end the Cowboys' title defence with a 17-11 win.

The Eels dug deep after being hit by the Nines injury curse, losing Ken Edwards (knee) on Sunday after Brad Takairangi (ankle) and Kaysa Pritchard (pectoral) fell on the opening day.

The Warriors only scraped into the finals after downing the Wests Tigers 22-8 and relying on Gold Coast to upset Canberra 38-13 to book a final eight berth.

They were put in the precarious position after suffering a shock 23-19 loss to the Raiders on Saturday.

The Warriors outscored Cronulla three tries to two in their quarter-final but still fell short.

Johnson tried desperately to spark a final play when Cronulla captain Wade Graham gave away consecutive penalties in the dying seconds but no time-out was called and the Sharks hung on for a boilover.

Another tournament disappointment was a win-less Manly.

They were determined not to finish the tournament red-faced, with coach Geoff Toovey risking injury to Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran by playing his superstars in their dead rubber against Newcastle on Sunday.

But the Sea Eagles still lost their final pool match 20-17.

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