Piha Pool: Day 1 wrap

Summary

The home fans were left disappointed as a Warriors side sans Shaun Johnson was bundled out of the Auckland Nines at the pool stage for the first time in the competition's history. Parramatta backed up their impressive showing from last season to sit atop the table and they are joined by surprise packets the Sea Eagles who have also booked a place in the quarter finals with two wins. The Dragons are in fourth place after two games and will miss the finals for the fourth year in a row. 

The new recruits

Manly's recruits proved the difference as they downed the Warriors 15-11, with Jonathan Wright and Curtis Sironen both crossing in the second-half to secure the shock win.

Speaking to NRL.com after the game, Wright stressed the importance of claiming the points against his former team, as well as how he and Sironen had settled into their new surroundings. 

"When we drew them first up I knew it would be tough. We've got a lot of young kids in the team with a lot of quality and we all know that they can play, so it was good to see them do so well," he said. 

"There's been a bit of banter with the boys during the week so it was a bit of fun. It was a tough game and I know what they can produce in this format so it was good to get the win.

"Curtis has been going well and it's good to see him injury free. I think he needed that change to come over to Manly. He'd been at the Tigers for a while and there was a lot of pressure on him so it's good to see him enjoying himself at Manly."

The combination

The Eels justified their billing as one of the tournament favourites with back-to-back big wins over the Dragons and Warriors to secure a spot in the quarter finals. 

Their cause has been helped by prolific try-scorer Semi Radradra who took his tournament tally to 14 tries across four years, as well as speed demon Bevan French who added to his tournament-topping eight tries from last season with another four-pointer against the Warriors. 

It was one of the tries of the afternoon as French latched onto a banana kick from Corey Norman to ice a dominant afternoon from last year's grand final winners. 

Speaking to NRL.com after the game, Norman revealed there was nothing structured about the play.

"I just saw him pointing up and I knew if I put it in the right kind of area that he would have the speed to get there," he said.

Try of the day

Plenty of quality tries from the Piha Pool, but the best goes to Jai Field for his second try against the Sea Eagles where he caught Martin Taupau flatfooted in defence and then scorched his way down the sideline to leave Jorge Taufua in his wake. 

Player of the day

You could give it to any number of Parramatta players, but Manly's Curtis Sironen got the nod on this occasion. With a try in both games – including the match-winner against the Warriors – the Sea Eagles recruit looks like he has settled into his new club in style.