The North Queensland Cowboys have taken out the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines title, after beating the Brisbane Broncos by 16-7 in the final at Eden Park last night.
Cowboys prop James Tamou, who is also an Australian international, a former NZ Māori rep and a descendant of Muaūpoko, believes the team progressed well through share determination.
Their outstanding 8-nil win over the home side and favourites, the NZ Warriors, in the semi-final set the platform to face Ngāti Pikiao's Josh Hoffman and the Broncos in the final.
Many fans cheered for the Broncos, but the Townsville-based side had a mix of NZ players like the NYC U20s leading try-scorer Javid Bowen of Te Arawa, who looks to secure a spot in the 13-man side this season.
In the final, Antonio Winterstein and Te Āti Awa's Curtis Rona both crossed over to take their side to a 10-nil lead at half-time.
With three minutes left, the Broncos' Ben Hunt picked up a five-pointer but the Cowboys hung on to become the first ever Nines champions.