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NRL Nines day one: How it all unfolded

All the fixtures, match reports, highlights videos and talking points  from the first day of the 2020 NRL Nines at HBF Park, Perth.

There were a few upsets and unfortunately some injuries, including Jillaroos forward Holli Wheeler suffering a suspected ACL tear, on Friday night as well as several spectacular tries.

In the men's tournament, each club will play two pool matches before the top eight advance to the quarter-finals on Saturday.

In the women's competition, all four clubs will play a round robin before the final on Saturday night.

Results

NRLW: Broncos 13, Dragons 6

Match Highlights: Broncos v Dragons

Jillaroos forward Holli Wheeler was a dejected figure after suffering a serious knee injury in the Dragons’ 13-6 loss to the Broncos on the opening day of the Nines in Perth.

Wheeler was assisted from the field with a suspected ACL injury barely a minute into the game, with the Broncos grabbing a converted try moments later through prop Amber Hall for a 6-0 lead.

St George Illawarra had to make another replacement when star recruit Isabelle Kelly was forced from the field with a rib injury and also had concerns over Jess Sergis after she limped to the sideline late in the half.

Kelly and Sergis both returned to the fray, with Sergis scoring her team’s only try when she crossed midway through the second half.

The Dragons had one last chance to tie the game in the dying stages but the Broncos kept their line intact.

NRL: Sea Eagles 18, Storm 4

Match Highlights: Storm v Sea Eagles

The Manly Sea Eagles might have unearthed a new star in their 18-4 victory over Melbourne on day one of the Nines tournament.

Unheralded halfback Luke Metcalf scored the game’s first and last tries, as the Sea Eagles notched a solid victory in stifling 39-degree heat in Perth.

The 20-year-old showcased his speed off the mark with an impressive bonus zone try, as the Sea Eagles kept the Storm scoreless in the first half.

Manly were awarded a penalty try after Reuben Garrick was held back near the line, leaving the Storm in a 14-0 hole at the break.

Cameron Munster finally opened Melbourne’s account five minutes from full-time but they turned over possession by conceding a penalty from the kick-off and never troubled Manly again.

NRL: Cowboys 17, Broncos 11

Match Highlights: Cowboys v Broncos

The Cowboys claimed early bragging rights over Queensland rivals Brisbane with a 17-11 win on day one of the Nines at a steamy HBF Park in Perth.

As the temperature hovered above 30 degrees well into the evening, the traditional rivals tore into each other with a ferocity not seen in earlier matches.

The Cowboys grabbed an early 4-0 lead with a try to Coen Hess before the Broncos snatched a 7-4 half-time lead with Jake Turpin’s bonus zone try.

North Queensland regained the lead with Scott Drinkwater’s try and stretched the margin to 17-7 with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow’s try.

The Broncos made it an interesting finish with a late try to Jesse Arthars but the Cowboys wouldn’t be denied.

Worryingly Brisbane lost star playmaker Anthony Milford to a hamstring injury in the second half, with Milford unlikely to play any further part in the tournament on Saturday.

Milford injured against Cowboys

NRL: Wests Tigers 17, Rabbitohs 8

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs

The Wests Tigers outclassed the South Sydney Rabbitohs to claim a 17-8 triumph on the opening day of the Nines.

Billy Walters stepped his way around the defence close to the Bunnies’ line for the game’s first try before the lead blew out to 17-0 at the break after tries to Sam McIntyre and Thomas Mikaele.

The Rabbitohs raised the bar in the second half and gave themselves a glimmer of hope with tries to Campbell Graham and Edene Gebbie.

But time ran out on their fightback and the Tigers will head into day two on a winning note.

Both teams suffered injuries during the match, with the Tigers losing Paul Momirovski to an ankle problem and Souths losing Ethan Lowe to a knee injury.

Mbye hopeful Momirovski injury is just a ‘scare’

NRL: Titans 27, Raiders 10

Match Highlights: Raiders v Titans

The Gold Coast Titans got their Nines campaign off on the right foot, coming from behind to beat the Canberra Raiders 27-10.

Raiders winger Matthew Timoko scored twice in the first half but the Titans didn’t flinch, with tries to Greg Leleisiuao, Michael Gordon and Anthony Don setting up a 17-10 half-time lead.

The margin swelled to 27-10 with a pair of tries to off-season recruit Jonus Pearson and the Titans kept their opponents at arm’s length over the closing minutes for a confidence-boosting victory.

Holbrook shares moment with super coach after coaching debut

NRL: Dragons 27, Sharks 5

Match Highlights: Dragons v Sharks

A defiant Dragons upstaged a more fancied Cronulla side to claim a well-deserved 27-5 triumph in game five of the opening day’s action.

The Sharks drew first blood with Sione Katoa’s try but St George Illawarra answered with tries to Josh Kerr and Tyrell Fuimaono for an 8-5 half-time lead.

Hopes of a revival were deflated when Ben Hunt scored a bonus zone try and it was all over bar the shouting when Tristan Sailor sprinted away for a bonus zone try, pushing the score out to 22-5.

The Dragons weren’t done, with Kerr crossing for his second to seal the big win.

Frizell addresses talk about his future

NRL: Bulldogs 13, Eels 10

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Eels

The Canterbury Bulldogs have scored the tournament’s first boilover with Corey Harawira-Naera scoring a crunch time try to beat arch enemies Parramatta 13-10.

While the previous two matches were one-sided affairs, a defensive tussle typically ensued between the long-time rivals.

The Eels scored first with Blake Ferguson flying through the air for a crowd-pleasing try in the corner.

Canterbury responded with Morgan Harper’s converted try for a 6-4 lead before Jaeman Salmon broke the defensive line for a solo try to put Parra ahead 10-6 lead at the break.

The Eels couldn’t build on their lead and the Dogs stole their thunder with Harawira-Naera’s bonus zone try two minutes from full-time.

Matterson reflects on shock loss in Eels debut

NRL: Knights 34, Warriors 0

Match Highlights: Warriors v Knights

Kurt Gidley showed there’s still life in the old dog, coming out of retirement to ignite the Newcastle Knights to a crushing 34-0 defeat of the New Zealand Warriors.

Retired for two years, 37-year-old Gidley had a hand in several tries and steered the Knights around the field like he’d never been away.

The game was effectively over at half-time with the Knights leading 20-0 from tries to Mason Lino, Starford Toa and Brodie Jones.

The Knights showed no mercy in the second half, with Sione Mata'utia, Matt Soper-Lawler and Tex Hoy all crossing for a convincing win.

NRL: Panthers 35, Roosters 0

Match Highlights: Panthers v Roosters

Viliame Kikau arrived in Perth as one of the most feared players of the tournament and lived up to the hype with a try in the first 40 seconds to spearhead Penrith’s 35-0 demolition of the Sydney Roosters.

The Panthers had victory in their keeping by half-time after scoring four unanswered tries, including two bonus zone tries.

Kikau scored his second try as the half-time siren sounded, while Brent Naden and Josh Mansour also crossed after good lead-up by playmakers Nathan Cleary and Api Koroisau.

The Panthers claimed a third bonus zone try when Koroisau touched down four minutes into the second half for a 31-0 lead before Kikau put Cleary away in the closing seconds for the icing on the cake.

NRLW: Warriors 13, Roosters 8

Match Highlights: Warriors v Roosters

The New Zealand Warriors have claimed victory in the opening match with a 13-8 defeat of the Sydney Roosters.

Trailing 6-4 at the break, the Roosters grabbed their first lead with Kiama Takairangi’s try in the opening minute of the second half and were within touching distance of victory when Chontelle Stowers sprinted 70m for an intercept try under the posts to give the Warriors the win.

The Warriors were first on the scoreboard with Huia Harding’s converted try before Zahara Temara crossed for the Roosters two minutes from half-time.

The Warriors had to play in the men’s jerseys and without socks after the gear bag was left at the team hotel.