Pool Yellow: Hometown heroics
An electrifying Warriors side set the Nines competition alight and the parochial home crowd into raptures as their off-the-cuff style and instinctive players gelled perfectly with the reduced format.
New Zealand Test halfback Shaun Johnson and English Test fullback Sam Tomkins were each instrumental in both the side's dominant wins over Canberra and Manly, while lesser known players such as Tuimoala Lolohea, Solomone Kata and David Fusitua made vital contributions.
Johnson said the side hadn't had much of a game plan other than to try and get quick play-the-balls and going forward then playing off the back of that.
"The crowd was unreal; it would be good if we can get these guys along during the year. If we can get that sort of turnout during the year it will help a lot," he added of the intense support from the sell-out home crowd.
Tomkins said the side's pacier players such as Johnson, Glen Fisiiahi and Lolohea are "always going to cause problems".
"Our 'd' (defence) could have been a lot better but I think there's plenty more tries to come from us," he said.
It was a hard day at the office for an inexperienced Raiders outfit, who were the only side held to nil as they were blown away by the Cowboys after their first-up loss to the Warriors. That was a solid hit back from North Queensland after they had been comfortably beaten by a determined Manly outfit in their first game.
The big news from that one was the ACL injury to new fullback Lachlan Coote, who limped off following a fairly innocuous looking tackle from returning Manly great Steve Menzies.
The Cowboys had gone in with one of the biggest sides of the tournament and it appeared to pay off as James Tamou and Jason Taumalolo played strongly in the win over Manly.
Canberra's awful differential has likely ended their tournament regardless of what happens in the third round, while the Warriors are almost certainly through for the same reason.
Given the Sea Eagles get a shot at the struggling Raiders at 2.10pm after the Cowboys run into a white hot Warriors at 1.45pm, the most likely outcome seems to be a progression by the Warriors in first and Manly in second.
Pool Yellow: Warriors 4 (+34), Cowboys 2 (+15), Sea Eagles 2 (-14), Raiders 0 (-35).