Papakura and Ngaruawahia win at Sportsafe ARL Coastal Classic Nines

The Papakura Sea Eagles remain Sportsafe ARL Coastal Classic Nines Champions after defeating the Howick Hornets 20-14 in the final on Saturday.

Howick were first to score with Jesse Keven dotting down to lead 4-0.

However, the Sea Eagles looked every bit the side who had won their second Counties Manukau Nines crown over Waitangi weekend.

Papakura responded with Francis Toetu finding a gap close to the posts, putting them in front after being converted by Nicholas Worthington 6-4.

Wasting no time and targeting the Hornets left edge, the Sea Eagles doubled with a converted try to Worthington and a 12-4 lead at halftime.  

The game was dominated by staunch defence from both sides who traded points in the remaining minutes.

Howick managed to score in the final minute of the game, but Papakura proved too strong holding their lead to confirm the 20-14 victory.

Co-coach George Ramsey said he was happy with the result and is feeling good about the upcoming season.

"The Sportsafe ARL Nines tournament has been fantastic," he said.

"The Nines is a game of mistakes. When we make mistakes, other teams capitalize on them and vice versa."

Ramsey is already looking forward to next year's tournament where he hopes to bring more teams from the Papakura club.

"The boys have shown their abilities here this weekend. Whitianga has put on a great show and I'm already looking forward to bringing down another team from Papakura next year."

Sea Eagles Francis Toetu won himself the use of a Nissan X-Trail for the weekend as Tournament MVP, courtesy of Giltrap Nissan and a G-Shock watch.

Hooker Terence Phillips won himself the use of a new Boulevard M109 Motorbike for the weekend after being voted Player Personality of the Tournament by the public, thanks to sponsors Coleman's Suzuki.

ARL sponsorship and events manager Troy Hardy said the tournament was played in great spirit and players, staff and fans really enjoyed themselves.

"It's great to be here in Whitianga again," he said.

"Special thanks must go to the sponsors Sportsafe and to Nissan Giltrap for providing the use of a brand new car awarded to the Player of the Tournament."

Meanwhile in the plate division, new comers Ngaruawahia showed that Waikato have what it takes to play against the Auckland sides after beating Manurewa 8-0 in the final.

Despite entering the game as underdogs, Ngaruawahia controlled the game.

Panthers Cameron Ireton scored in the dying seconds of the first half for a 4-0 lead.

The Marlins held possession in the opening minutes of the second half, but with great defence from the Panther's, Marrin Haggie sealed the match for Ngaruawahia with a try to win the Plate final 8-0. 

President of the Ngaruawahia Panther's Richard Waiwai said he is pleased to see the side tested against Fox and Sharman opponents.

"We are so fortunate and privileged to compete in this tournament," he said.

"It's not about playing Manurewa, Papakura, Howick, Glenora or Otara - for us, it's playing Auckland."

Waiwai said he can already see a number of teams from the Waikato showing interest to play in next year's competition.

"The boys are stoked. We are definitely coming again next year and I can already see a number of teams from the Waikato interested in playing.

"A big mihi to Auckland Rugby League for running a well organised tournament. Our families who were unable to attend and support were able to watch live online and it's just been an incredible experience for us all."


Championship final

Papakura 20 (Nicholas Worthington x2, Francis David Toetu, Roman Hifo tries; Nicholas Worthington x2 goal) BEAT Howick 14 (Tony Tuia, Junior Napara, Jesse Keven tries; Tony Tuia x1 goals). HT 12-4


Plate final

Ngaruawahia 8 (Cameron Ireton, Marrin Haggie tries) BEAT Manurewa 0. HT 4-0

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