Much of the pre-tournament hype surrounding the NRL Nines was about the return of Brad Fittler and the Sydney Roosters legend didn’t disappoint.
With the Roosters facing an early exit from the tournament, Fittler spearheaded a tricolours win over Brisbane midway through Saturday with a 55m intercept try.
Wearing his famous No.6, Fittler was solid in the Roosters’ first-up loss to Parramatta, displaying his trademark sidestep and flawless passing game.
But the 42-year-old, as always, stepped it up when his team needed it most against the Broncos.
Reading the play perfectly, Fittler plucked a David Stagg first-half pass and raced away untouched, albeit a little slower than most will remember.
The play reminded of an Andrew Johns pass Fittler latched onto in the 2000 preliminary final that helped the Roosters to their first grand final in 20 years.
But 10 years on from his 2004 retirement, Fittler was at it again.
“I’m going to have to watch it on replay to see how slow it was. It was awful,” Fittler said.
“No one was chasing me, they must have thought someone else took it.
“There’s nothing like being in space.
“I was hoping (to get a try coming into the tournament). They defend a little bit differently now, so at training I was taking a lot of intercepts because I didn’t want to tackle Sonny at training.
“They all knew I was going to take an intercept, it was just a matter of when.
With Steve Menzies, 40, joining Fittler on the comeback trail in Auckland, the former Roosters premiership player said he would like to return again next year.
“I would do this again next year for sure, if I was in condition. It’s awesome,” Fittler said.
“I think every ex-player should strive to come back and have a go.
“Like I said after that first game, out on that pitch its awesome. The atmosphere is unbelievable.
“To think this is only for one year is a joke, you don’t get this kind of atmosphere anywhere.”
Menzies, whose Manly side defeated the Cowboys before falling to the Warriors added: “It was pretty amazing, it’s a good concept hopefully it takes off, it has the right mix of enough tries but the defence is there to defend a couple of sets of six.”