Brad Fittler lives up to hype at Auckland Nines

The Cowboys celebrate their win over the Broncos in the grand final of the inaugural Auckland Nines.
The Cowboys celebrate their win over the Broncos in the grand final of the inaugural Auckland Nines.
WINNERS: Gavin Cooper of the Cowboys charges forward.
WINNERS: Gavin Cooper of the Cowboys charges forward.
BATTLE-WORN: Warriors players react after losing their semifinal match against the Cowboys 8-0.
BATTLE-WORN: Warriors players react after losing their semifinal match against the Cowboys 8-0.
CROWD FAVORITES : Warriors players salute the crowd following their semifinal loss.
CROWD FAVORITES : Warriors players salute the crowd following their semifinal loss.
GUTTED: Warriors players react after losing their semifinal match against the Cowboys 8-0.
GUTTED: Warriors players react after losing their semifinal match against the Cowboys 8-0.
CONTRASTS: Warriors players react after losing their semifinal match against the Cowboys 8-0.
CONTRASTS: Warriors players react after losing their semifinal match against the Cowboys 8-0.
DENIED: James Tamou of the Cowboys makes a break during the semi final match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Queensland Cowboys.
DENIED: James Tamou of the Cowboys makes a break during the semi final match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Queensland Cowboys.
HOLD ON: Tariq Sims of the Cowboys makes a break during the semi final match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Queensland Cowboy.
HOLD ON: Tariq Sims of the Cowboys makes a break during the semi final match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Queensland Cowboy.
OOPS: Michael Lichaa of the Sharks falls over during the semi final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla Sharks.
OOPS: Michael Lichaa of the Sharks falls over during the semi final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla Sharks.
ALONE IN FRONT: Warriors player Shaun Johnson gasses the opposition to score a try between the posts during their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
ALONE IN FRONT: Warriors player Shaun Johnson gasses the opposition to score a try between the posts during their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
KNEES: Jeremy Latimore of the Panthers charges forward during the quarter final match between the Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys.
KNEES: Jeremy Latimore of the Panthers charges forward during the quarter final match between the Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys.
CROWDED: Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors is tackled during the match between the Warriors and the Rabbitohs.
CROWDED: Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors is tackled during the match between the Warriors and the Rabbitohs.
EASY: Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys charges forward during the quarter final match between the Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys.
EASY: Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys charges forward during the quarter final match between the Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys.
GROUP HUG: Shaun Johnsonof the Warriors celebrates his try during the quarter final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
GROUP HUG: Shaun Johnsonof the Warriors celebrates his try during the quarter final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
IN THE DUST: Warriors player Konrad Hurrell on the burst during their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
IN THE DUST: Warriors player Konrad Hurrell on the burst during their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
FLYING: Warriors player Shaun Johnson gasses the opposition to score a try between the posts during their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
FLYING: Warriors player Shaun Johnson gasses the opposition to score a try between the posts during their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
BOOM: Warriors player Sebastine Ikahihifo celebrates a try in their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
BOOM: Warriors player Sebastine Ikahihifo celebrates a try in their quarter final match against the Rabbittohs.
DO IT: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors makes a break to score during the quarter final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
DO IT: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors makes a break to score during the quarter final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
GO FOR IT: Sebastine Ikahihifo of the Warriors makes a break during the quarter final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
GO FOR IT: Sebastine Ikahihifo of the Warriors makes a break during the quarter final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
PRECIOUS: Dylan Walker of the Rabbitohs competes with Solomone Kata of the Warriors for the ball.
PRECIOUS: Dylan Walker of the Rabbitohs competes with Solomone Kata of the Warriors for the ball.
IN THE DUST: Dale Copley of the Broncos dives over to score a try during the quarter final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights.
IN THE DUST: Dale Copley of the Broncos dives over to score a try during the quarter final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights.
OUCH: Wade Graham of the Sharks is hit hard during the quarter final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels.
OUCH: Wade Graham of the Sharks is hit hard during the quarter final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels.
SHARKED: Valentine Holmes of the Sharks runs in to score a try  during the quarter final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels.
SHARKED: Valentine Holmes of the Sharks runs in to score a try during the quarter final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels.
BOOM: Apisai Koroisau of the Rabbitohs beats Lewis Brown of the Panthers to score a try.
BOOM: Apisai Koroisau of the Rabbitohs beats Lewis Brown of the Panthers to score a try.
GO FOR IT: Jarrod Mullen of the Knights makes a break during the quarter final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights.
GO FOR IT: Jarrod Mullen of the Knights makes a break during the quarter final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights.
TRY: Apisai Koroisau of the Rabbitohs beats Matthew Moylan of the panthers to score a try during the match between the Rabbitohs and the Panthers.
TRY: Apisai Koroisau of the Rabbitohs beats Matthew Moylan of the panthers to score a try during the match between the Rabbitohs and the Panthers.
CAN'T TOUCH THIS: Kurt Mann of the Storm charges forward during the match between Melbourne Storm and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
CAN'T TOUCH THIS: Kurt Mann of the Storm charges forward during the match between Melbourne Storm and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
STORMING: Tohu Harris of the Storm charges forward during the match between Melbourne Storm and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
STORMING: Tohu Harris of the Storm charges forward during the match between Melbourne Storm and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
ROAR: Warriors player Sebastine Ikahihifo crashes through the defence of the Cowboys.
ROAR: Warriors player Sebastine Ikahihifo crashes through the defence of the Cowboys.
GOLDEN EGG: Willie Tonga of the Eels goes close to the tryline during the match between the Eels and the Broncos.
GOLDEN EGG: Willie Tonga of the Eels goes close to the tryline during the match between the Eels and the Broncos.
BANG: Warriors player Sebastine Ikahihifo crashes through the defence of Kane Linnett, bottom, and Michael Morgan to score against the Cowboys during day two of the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines rugby league tournament held at Eden Park in Auckland.
BANG: Warriors player Sebastine Ikahihifo crashes through the defence of Kane Linnett, bottom, and Michael Morgan to score against the Cowboys during day two of the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines rugby league tournament held at Eden Park in Auckland.
FLYING: Kodi Nikorima of the Broncos beats the tackle of Fuifui Moimoi of the Eels during the match between the Broncos and the Eels.
FLYING: Kodi Nikorima of the Broncos beats the tackle of Fuifui Moimoi of the Eels during the match between the Broncos and the Eels.
SPRINT: Bill Tupou of the Raiders makes a break to score a try during the match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders.
SPRINT: Bill Tupou of the Raiders makes a break to score a try during the match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders.
LEAN: Steve Menzies of the Sea Eagles charges forward during the match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders.
LEAN: Steve Menzies of the Sea Eagles charges forward during the match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders.
TRIVIAL: New Zealand Warriors player Shaun Johnson scores under the posts.
TRIVIAL: New Zealand Warriors player Shaun Johnson scores under the posts.
OVER EASY: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors breaks away to score a try during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
OVER EASY: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors breaks away to score a try during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
AWAY LAUGHING: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors breaks away to score a try during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
AWAY LAUGHING: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors breaks away to score a try during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
BOOM: Warriors Charlie Gubb and Solomone Kata celebrate after Solomone Kata's try in their match with the North Queensland Cowboys.
BOOM: Warriors Charlie Gubb and Solomone Kata celebrate after Solomone Kata's try in their match with the North Queensland Cowboys.
BOYS: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors celebrates with Sam Tomkins after scoring a try during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
BOYS: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors celebrates with Sam Tomkins after scoring a try during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
HOLDING ON: New Zealand Warriors player Solomone Kata tries to break the tackle of Javid Bowen from the North Queensland Cowboys.
HOLDING ON: New Zealand Warriors player Solomone Kata tries to break the tackle of Javid Bowen from the North Queensland Cowboys.
SWERVE: Sebastine Ikahihifo of the Warriors charges forward during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
SWERVE: Sebastine Ikahihifo of the Warriors charges forward during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
MUSCLE: Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors charges forward during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
MUSCLE: Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors charges forward during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
SPEED: Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors charges forward during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
SPEED: Konrad Hurrell of the Warriors charges forward during the match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys.
YOU TRIED: Ricky Leutele of the Sharks scores a try in the tackle of David Mead of the Titans.
YOU TRIED: Ricky Leutele of the Sharks scores a try in the tackle of David Mead of the Titans.
NUH UH: Corey Parker of the Broncos makes a break during the match between the Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos.
NUH UH: Corey Parker of the Broncos makes a break during the match between the Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos.
NOPE: Jake Mamo of the Knights beats the tackle of Blake Austin of the Tigers.
NOPE: Jake Mamo of the Knights beats the tackle of Blake Austin of the Tigers.
OUTRUN: Ricky Leutele of the Sharks beats Anthony Don of the Titans.
OUTRUN: Ricky Leutele of the Sharks beats Anthony Don of the Titans.
BRONCO`D: Ben Hunt of the Broncos dives over to score during the match between the Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos.
BRONCO`D: Ben Hunt of the Broncos dives over to score during the match between the Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos.
JUST: Pat O'Hanlon of the Bulldogs dives over to score a try during the match between Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.
JUST: Pat O'Hanlon of the Bulldogs dives over to score a try during the match between Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.
TWO ON ONE: Moses Mbye of the Bulldogs charges forward during the match between Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.
TWO ON ONE: Moses Mbye of the Bulldogs charges forward during the match between Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.
OH HI: Pat O'Hanlon of the Bulldogs offloads during the match between Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.
OH HI: Pat O'Hanlon of the Bulldogs offloads during the match between Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.
CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP: Willie Mason of the Knights charges over to score during the match between Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers.
CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP: Willie Mason of the Knights charges over to score during the match between Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers.
SURROUNDED: Willie Mason of the Knights charges over to score during the match between Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers.
SURROUNDED: Willie Mason of the Knights charges over to score during the match between Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers.
MOMENTUM: Kalifa Faifai Loa charges forward during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Gold Coast Titans.
MOMENTUM: Kalifa Faifai Loa charges forward during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Gold Coast Titans.
LEAP: Fa'amanu Brown of the Sharks dives over for a try during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Gold Coast Titans.
LEAP: Fa'amanu Brown of the Sharks dives over for a try during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Gold Coast Titans.
SHARKED: Ricky Leutele of the Sharks offloads during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Gold Coast Titans.
SHARKED: Ricky Leutele of the Sharks offloads during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Gold Coast Titans.
CAUGHT: David Fusitua of the Warriors looks to beat the tackle of Lagi Setu of the Raiders.
CAUGHT: David Fusitua of the Warriors looks to beat the tackle of Lagi Setu of the Raiders.
ORIGIN STAR: Daly Cherry-Evans of the Sea Eagles looks to attack the Warriors' line.
ORIGIN STAR: Daly Cherry-Evans of the Sea Eagles looks to attack the Warriors' line.
POWER MAN: Solomone Kata of the Warriors makes a break against the Sea Eagles.
POWER MAN: Solomone Kata of the Warriors makes a break against the Sea Eagles.
GREAT HAIR: Fuifui Moimoi of the Eels charges forward against the Bulldogs.
GREAT HAIR: Fuifui Moimoi of the Eels charges forward against the Bulldogs.
WHAT A LEGEND: Brad Fittler, 42, celebrates after scoring an intercept try that involved a 60 metre run. All this after 10 seasons out of the game. His team, the Roosters, went on to beat the Broncos 14-7. Fittler's thoughts? He's keen to play in the Nines again next year. What a dude!
WHAT A LEGEND: Brad Fittler, 42, celebrates after scoring an intercept try that involved a 60 metre run. All this after 10 seasons out of the game. His team, the Roosters, went on to beat the Broncos 14-7. Fittler's thoughts? He's keen to play in the Nines again next year. What a dude!
KNIGHTS V TITANS: Paul Carter of the Titans makes a break, but it wasn't enough, with the Newcastle Knights winning 25-14.
KNIGHTS V TITANS: Paul Carter of the Titans makes a break, but it wasn't enough, with the Newcastle Knights winning 25-14.
OUTTA MY WAY: Chris Houston of the Knights makes a break against the Titans.
OUTTA MY WAY: Chris Houston of the Knights makes a break against the Titans.
SHARKS BITTEN: Todd Carney of the Sharks makes a break during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the West Tigers. The Sharks lost to the Tigers 21-15, maybe because they lost a man for five minutes to the sin bin?
SHARKS BITTEN: Todd Carney of the Sharks makes a break during the match between the Cronulla Sharks and the West Tigers. The Sharks lost to the Tigers 21-15, maybe because they lost a man for five minutes to the sin bin?
RUN RABBIT RUN: Rabbitohs player Tuqiri sprints in for a try. The mighty Dragons were slayed by the bunny Rabbitohs 23-4.
RUN RABBIT RUN: Rabbitohs player Tuqiri sprints in for a try. The mighty Dragons were slayed by the bunny Rabbitohs 23-4.
BOOM: Jesse Sene-Lefao of the Sea Eagles makes against the North Queensland Cowboys - his team brought the first-round game home, beating the Cowboys 17-8.
BOOM: Jesse Sene-Lefao of the Sea Eagles makes against the North Queensland Cowboys - his team brought the first-round game home, beating the Cowboys 17-8.
SIDE STEP STAR: A key player in the Warriors win against the Raiders, Shaun Johnson stepped, dummied and crossed his way to try time at the five minute mark.
SIDE STEP STAR: A key player in the Warriors win against the Raiders, Shaun Johnson stepped, dummied and crossed his way to try time at the five minute mark.
WORTH THE MONEY: Sam Tomkins, one of the NZ Warrriors most high-profile signings to date, proved he was worth his salary today - playing a key part in three of the Warriors four tries against the Raiders - the Warriors winning easily at 25-14.
WORTH THE MONEY: Sam Tomkins, one of the NZ Warrriors most high-profile signings to date, proved he was worth his salary today - playing a key part in three of the Warriors four tries against the Raiders - the Warriors winning easily at 25-14.
MOVE ASIDE: Glen Fisiiahi makes a break during the Warriors win against the Raiders.
MOVE ASIDE: Glen Fisiiahi makes a break during the Warriors win against the Raiders.
VICTORS: Dale Copley of the Broncos dives over to score a try during the match between Brisbane Broncos and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. The Broncos took the game home easily at 20-4.
VICTORS: Dale Copley of the Broncos dives over to score a try during the match between Brisbane Broncos and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. The Broncos took the game home easily at 20-4.
BRAD'S BACK: 42-year-old coach Fittler made his on-field debut after 10 seasons, although his team lost its first game and post-game he said: "I felt better running out than I did walking back in."
BRAD'S BACK: 42-year-old coach Fittler made his on-field debut after 10 seasons, although his team lost its first game and post-game he said: "I felt better running out than I did walking back in."
RUN RADRADA RUN: The look of joy on Semi Radradra's face is priceless, and he's probably still beaming as the Eels beat the Roosters 18-11.
RUN RADRADA RUN: The look of joy on Semi Radradra's face is priceless, and he's probably still beaming as the Eels beat the Roosters 18-11.
REASON TO CELEBRATE: Kalifa Faifai Loa of the Titans celebrates scoring a try as teammate Paul Carter looks on during their winning match against the Tigers.
REASON TO CELEBRATE: Kalifa Faifai Loa of the Titans celebrates scoring a try as teammate Paul Carter looks on during their winning match against the Tigers.
ROAR DAMPENED: James Gavet of the Tigers offloads during the match between West Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans, which the Titans won easily at 22-7.
ROAR DAMPENED: James Gavet of the Tigers offloads during the match between West Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans, which the Titans won easily at 22-7.
TRY TIME: David Mead of the Titans scores a try during the match between West Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans.
TRY TIME: David Mead of the Titans scores a try during the match between West Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans.
THINK FAST: Beau Scott of the Knights gets the ball past Todd Carney of the Sharks during the match between Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights. It wasn't enough though, the Sharks won 15-12.
THINK FAST: Beau Scott of the Knights gets the ball past Todd Carney of the Sharks during the match between Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights. It wasn't enough though, the Sharks won 15-12.
THE VICTORS: Wade Graham of the Sharks makes a break during their winning match against the Newcastle Knights.
THE VICTORS: Wade Graham of the Sharks makes a break during their winning match against the Newcastle Knights.
HONGI: Isaac Luke is welcomed to the tourney.
HONGI: Isaac Luke is welcomed to the tourney.
GET READY BOYS: Players are welcomed during the opening ceremony.
GET READY BOYS: Players are welcomed during the opening ceremony.

Much of the pre-tournament hype surrounding the NRL Nines was about the return of Brad Fittler and the Sydney Roosters legend didn't disappoint.

With the Roosters facing an early exit from the tournament, Fittler spearheaded a tricolours win over Brisbane midway through Saturday with a 55m intercept try.

Wearing his famous No.6, Fittler was solid in the Roosters' first-up loss to Parramatta, displaying his trademark sidestep and flawless passing game.

But the 42-year-old, as always, stepped it up when his team needed it most against the Broncos.

Reading the play perfectly, Fittler plucked a David Stagg first-half pass and raced away untouched, albeit a little slower than most will remember.

The play reminded of an Andrew Johns pass Fittler latched onto in the 2000 preliminary final that helped the Roosters to their first grand final in 20 years.

But 10 years on from his 2004 retirement, Fittler was at it again.

"I'm going to have to watch it on replay to see how slow it was. It was awful," Fittler said.

"No one was chasing me, they must have thought someone else took it.

"There's nothing like being in space.

"I was hoping (to get a try coming into the tournament). They defend a little bit differently now, so at training I was taking a lot of intercepts because I didn't want to tackle Sonny at training.

"They all knew I was going to take an intercept, it was just a matter of when.

With Steve Menzies, 40, joining Fittler on the comeback trail in Auckland, the former Roosters premiership player said he would like to return again next year.

"I would do this again next year for sure, if I was in condition. It's awesome," Fittler said.

"I think every ex-player should strive to come back and have a go.

"Like I said after that first game, out on that pitch its awesome. The atmosphere is unbelievable.

"To think this is only for one year is a joke, you don't get this kind of atmosphere anywhere."

Menzies, whose Manly side defeated the Cowboys before falling to the Warriors added: "It was pretty amazing, it's a good concept hopefully it takes off, it has the right mix of enough tries but the defence is there to defend a couple of sets of six."

OLD BOY: Brad Fittler in action for the Roosters at Eden Park.
OLD BOY: Brad Fittler in action for the Roosters at Eden Park.

AAP