North Queensland Cowboys ride to Nines win

ALL DOLLED UP: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
ALL DOLLED UP: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
PRINTS: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
PRINTS: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
DAY OFF: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
DAY OFF: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
KRYPTONITE BARRIER: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
KRYPTONITE BARRIER: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
ALL SMILES: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
ALL SMILES: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
WARRIORS: A family of fans.
WARRIORS: A family of fans.
PACKED: Crowds during day two.
PACKED: Crowds during day two.
NABBED: One of the more memorable tackles of the day.
NABBED: One of the more memorable tackles of the day.
HOPPING: A Rabbitohs fan.
HOPPING: A Rabbitohs fan.
LIKE, ZOINKS, MAN: Scooby's really buffed up since TV retirement.
LIKE, ZOINKS, MAN: Scooby's really buffed up since TV retirement.
MINNIE MOUSE: These ladies have the idea with the umbrellas - there's a high of 24 in AKL today.
MINNIE MOUSE: These ladies have the idea with the umbrellas - there's a high of 24 in AKL today.
AND THE CROWD GOES WILD: The Auckland crowd roars after Shaun Johnson's try in the Warriors first-round win. PS: Where's Waldo?
AND THE CROWD GOES WILD: The Auckland crowd roars after Shaun Johnson's try in the Warriors first-round win. PS: Where's Waldo?
CREEPY: It's Where's Wally with the fright-factor of Freddy Krueger.
CREEPY: It's Where's Wally with the fright-factor of Freddy Krueger.
INCOGNITO: They've actually chosen camo gear that matches the stadium seating - brava! - our eyes have slipped straight past them, but that's mainly due to the gorgeous bunny-eared princesses in the background.
INCOGNITO: They've actually chosen camo gear that matches the stadium seating - brava! - our eyes have slipped straight past them, but that's mainly due to the gorgeous bunny-eared princesses in the background.
HEF & THE BUNNIES: ... And here they are up close.
HEF & THE BUNNIES: ... And here they are up close.
MIGHTY MORPHERS: Oh wow, the speed skiers from Sochi have already made it back from Russia?
MIGHTY MORPHERS: Oh wow, the speed skiers from Sochi have already made it back from Russia?
A PRINCESS AND ... Okay, she's a fairy princess, but what's he? A Christmas tree that's a major fan of Elton John? That's our best shot.
A PRINCESS AND ... Okay, she's a fairy princess, but what's he? A Christmas tree that's a major fan of Elton John? That's our best shot.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Wow, this bunch of mates must argue over footy a lot.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Wow, this bunch of mates must argue over footy a lot.
FLORA: Now those handy Warehouse laundry tubs just continue to delight us with their multi-purpose magic.
FLORA: Now those handy Warehouse laundry tubs just continue to delight us with their multi-purpose magic.
SNOW WHITE & CAPTAIN AMERICA: Marvel's really clutching at straws with this film mash-up.
SNOW WHITE & CAPTAIN AMERICA: Marvel's really clutching at straws with this film mash-up.
WHAT A WELCOME: The awesome Tu Matariki kapa haka group from Huntly performed during the opening ceremony.
WHAT A WELCOME: The awesome Tu Matariki kapa haka group from Huntly performed during the opening ceremony.
IN SEARCH OF THE HOLY GRAIL: Saint Reginald Reagan III is in the house.
IN SEARCH OF THE HOLY GRAIL: Saint Reginald Reagan III is in the house.
COPS & ROBBERS: Since when did the 5-0 start wearing Puma?
COPS & ROBBERS: Since when did the 5-0 start wearing Puma?
FANS ARRIVE: Behind you!
FANS ARRIVE: Behind you!
GLADIATORS: These fans - complete with floppy cassis helmets - are ready for a big day.
GLADIATORS: These fans - complete with floppy cassis helmets - are ready for a big day.

The Cowboys are the champions of the first ever Auckland Nines, after defeating the Broncos 16-7 in the final.

The side from North Queensland went into the tournament as unfancied outsiders, but were the side that learnt the most about how to play this new form of the game as the weekend went on.

All of the teams had to find their feet in nines and while the likes of the Panthers, Eels and Warriors started the strongest, by the time the 31st and final match of the weekend was played, it was the Cowboys who were clearly the best, realising that it was about moving the ball quickly and spreading it away from the ruck to stop defences getting settled.

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.

In the final the Cowboys’ Antonio Winterstein scored the first try, which came just after Ben Hunt had one ruled out for the Broncos because Sam Thaiday put a foot in touch just before delivering the pass to Hunt.

Curtis Rona scored the Cowboys’ second try in the last minute of the first half to make the score 10-0 at the change of ends.

Hunt finally got a try with three minutes to go by diving in under the posts, but any hope of a comeback evaporated soon after with Rona bagging his second try of the game.

The stadium was half empty by the time this match started and that second score from Rona was the signal for even more to head towards the exit signs.

Earlier, the Cowboys broke the hearts of most of the 45,000 spectators by defeating the previously unbeaten Warriors 8-0, while the Broncos made the final due to their 18-14 victory over the Sharks.

Despite the Warriors having scored points more freely than all of the other 15 teams in the tournament up to the semifinals, incredibly they were shut out by a Cowboys side that had clearly shown they’d mastered the art of playing nines.

They strangled the life out of the Warriors, kept in control of the ball while the Warriors couldn’t make any inroads with either their big forwards or glitzy backs.

It wasn’t Shaun Johnson or Sam Tomkins who stood out, instead it was the man New Zealanders all love to hate, James Tamou, the Palmerston North born forward who turned his back on this country to play for the Kangaroos.

Tamou was powerful up the middle, but also had pace when drifting out wide.

When the two sides met earlier in the day during the pool stages of the competition the Warriors won 28-23, but neither the result or type of match was similar in this semifinal.

The Cowboys went in front in the second minute with Kyle Feldt catching a looping pass that went over the head of the Warriors defence to score.

It turned out to be the only points of the half as errors started to creep into the Warriors’ game and they were unable to find much space out wide for their wingers to exploit.

With the Warriors barely getting their hands on the ball for the first four minutes of the second half they ended up conceding another try, this time to Javid Bowen, who found himself in heaps of space on the right wing.

As much as they tried for the remainder of the match, they couldn’t hit their best form and a weekend that showed so much promise for the local club ultimately ended in disappointment.

The Broncos set up an all Queensland final with the Cowboys, as the Sharks were defeated 18-14 in the match before.

The Warriors had defeated the Rabbitohs 17-16 in their quarterfinal.

With the stadium pumping, the Warriors were holding on for dear life at the end as South Sydney stormed back into the contest after being 17-4 behind with three minutes remaining.

Glen Fisiiahi opened up the scoring for the Warriors off a good Konrad Hurrell offload before Ngani Laumape added a second. Shaun Johnson converted the first try to put the Warriors 10-0 up at the break.

The Rabbitohs struck first in the second half with Chris McQueen grounding a grubber kick, but the crowd were soon on their feet again as Johnson slid in for a five-point try after a 30-metre run.

Nathan Merritt picked up the Rabbitohs' second try to make the score 17-10 before Dylan Walker scored another for Souths less than a metre from the bonus try zone. The margins were tight but that effectively ended the Rabbitohs' hopes.

Fairfax Media