Nines team of the tournament
Nine players were selected in the official team of the tournament for the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines, including MVP Connor Watson.
Cameron Munster (Storm)
Showed he has the potential to lead a team around the park as a playmaker, and as usual his running game was a feature. Munster created a number of chances for the Storm and complimented fellow Team of the Tournament member Brodie Croft well in attack.
Kalyn Ponga (Cowboys)
If North Queensland had advanced further in the competition, Ponga would have been a strong contender for the Player of the Tournament. The fleet-footed back crossed for five tries and set up several others for the Cowboys, receiving some of the loudest cheers from the Eden Park crowd each time he touched the ball near the try-line.
Suaia Matagi (Eels)
The big bopper has appeared at all four editions of the NRL Auckland Nines to date, and saved his best for 2017 where his damaging running game helped Parramatta through to the semi-finals. A new signing for the Eels this year, Matagi put his hand up for selection in Round 1 with a number of eye-catching performances.
Brodie Croft (Storm)
His pace caused some real issues for opposing defensive lines at Eden Park, as Croft carved through for some quality individual tries. Playing in his second Nines tournament, the 19-year-old from Dalby also linked well with fullback Cameron Munster and speedster Josh Addo-Carr. Did his NRL Telstra Premiership chances no harm.
Latrell Mitchell (Roosters)
Added another facet to the Roosters' attack with a passing game which looked much-improved on 2016. Set up and scored plenty of tries with his blistering pace and crucially also provided the Roosters with a reliable kicker on conversions across both days.
Gideon Gela-Mosby (Cowboys)
Rocked day one with five tries in two games, and topped the overall tournament try-scoring count alongside Jordan Kahu with six. His four-pointer in the quarter-final loss to the Storm was one of the best seen in the history of the Nines.
Connor Watson (Roosters)
It is fair to say not many people would have picked Watson to stand out as the best player at the Nines this year, but the Roosters' playmaker was superb all tournament. Took it upon himself to become the chief playmaker for the Bondi men in the absence of Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary.
Waqa Blake (Panthers)
A constant threat on the edges, using his potent combination of power and pace. Blake stood up towards the back end of the day to help the Panthers through to their first finals appearance at the Nines.
Moses Leota (Panthers)
Laid on the golden try for Tyrone May which got Penrith through to the semi-finals and added plenty of grunt through the middle of the park for the Panthers. Produced some stinging hits on the other side of the ball as well.
First published on NRL.com.