THE Cowboys have reined in their opponents to win the NRL Auckland Nines and claim their first ever title.
The North Queensland boys got up 16-7 over Brisbane in the final of the inaugural nine-a-side competition in New Zealand to pocket $370,000.
NRL.com.au reports, the Cowboys shut-out the previously unstoppable Warriors in their semi-final with a resolute 8-0 victory.
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Cowboys coach Paul Green, who brought over one of the biggest sides of the tournament including forwards James Tamou, Jason Taumalolo, Tariq Sims and Gavin Cooper, said he thought he had a side that would suit the format.
“People talk about the Nines beforehand as being a free-flowing attacking game but we really valued our defence, particularly against the Warriors [in the semi-final],” Green said.
The strong finals performances came after a slow start – the Cowboys won just one of their three Pool games, losing to Manly and the Warriors and beating just Canberra, but scraped through on for and against after the Raiders beat Manly to give the Cowboys their chance.
The Titans also only claimed one win in their pool matches and will return home this afternoon after spending about 10 days over the Tasman.
They take on the high-spirited Cowboys in a trial match in Toowoomba on Saturday night.
The teams shared in a total prize pool of $2.2 million.