The first Auckland Premiership footy of 2019 went down over the weekend at the Auckland Nines. Here’s our Team of the Tournament from the pre-season outing on the Hibiscus Coast. (Photo: Manurewa’s Nathan Simmons).
1: Nehumi Teu (Hibiscus Coast)
Chimed into the backline nicely on attack, but crucially was also brilliant in defence as last man.
2: Jordan Papa (Howick)
A livewire in attack, he put teams on high alert when he got on the ball. Heavily involved in most of the good stuff Howick did.
3: Nathan Ashe (Hibiscus Coast)
Troubled teams almost every time he ran the footy, scoring a number of tries off the back of it, while his short kicking game set up a number of other four-pointers.
4: Fonitika Lelenga (Mangere East)
A one-man-line-breaking machine for much of the day, the rangy fullback was tough to contain on kick returns and when put into open space.
5: Buck Hall (Hibiscus Coast)
Kept showing up for carries and impressed with his ball playing at the line.
6: Trent Bishop (Howick)
Created second-phase with ease, setting up and scoring a number of tries. Proof that there is a place for big men in the nine-aside game.
7: Denzil Manu (Mangere East)
His support play was excellent for the Hawks, and off the back of it he scored several runaway tries. Brought great energy to the games.
8: Nathan Simmons (Manurewa)
Always looking for the footy. Directed play well and looked threatening when he took the ball to the line.
9: Ethan Nukanuka (Otahuhu)
Worked really hard on both sides of the ball and was Otahuhu’s biggest attacking threat in open space.