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Late try gives Mt Albert first Nines title

Late try gives Mt Albert first Nines title
March 11, 2018
Auckland Rugby League Media
For immediate release

A last-minute try to Roydon Gillett lifted the Mt Albert Lions to their first Sportsafe ARL Nines title on Saturday, beating the Pt Chevalier Pirates 20-14 in Auckland's flagship pre-season tournament.

With a near full-strength side at their disposal, the Lions cruised through pool play at Stanmore Bay on Auckland's Hibiscus Coast, but had to wait until the closing seconds of the decider to seal the deal against the Pirates, after scores had been locked at 14-14.

Earlier in the final the Lions had made a dream start after forcing an opposition handling error on the first play of the game, which hooker Isaac Misky turned into a four-pointer, before a looping ball from Francis Leger saw Puia'i Patu-Vaega'au hit back for Pt Chevalier.

Mark Graham latched onto a pinpoint Reece Joyce kick to give Mt Albert the advantage late in the first, before the back-and-forth nature of the clash continued when the two sides traded tries through the second half via Alifeleti Ngahe and Peter Oliveti.

Pt Chevalier playmaker Hawaiki Annandale tied things up with a late try, and the game appeared destined for golden point, before Gillett - who was a contestant in the inaugural season of the NRL Rookie TV show - sealed the match with a charging effort under the posts to edge past the 2017 Nines champions and claim the first official silverware of the new season.

Meanwhile in the second-tier Plate final, the Howick Hornets overcame Premiership newcomers the Franklin Storm, 24-20 in the final.

Mt Albert Lions 20 (Issac Misky, Mark Graham, Peter Oliveti, Roydon Gillett tries; 2 goals) def. Pt Chevalier 14 (Puia'i Patu-Vaega'au, Alifeleti Ngahe, Hawaiki Annandale; 1 goals)

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