In what could possibly be the final nines tournament in Auckland, traditional heavyweights the Warriors have bowed out of their home event without a win.
Drawcard Shaun Johnson was again a no-show as the Nation Rugby League club opted to rest their star halfback following his groin strain in the warm-up of their opener on Saturday.
The home side looked set to claim a dead rubber win against St George Illawarra on Sunday, but were brought undone by a last-gasp try to Kurt Mann on the buzzer to finish 14-10 losers.
Warriors legend Ruben Wiki, who came out of retirement to feature in the nines, defended the club's decision to field a vastly inexperienced squad on home soil.
It was the club's worst performance in the four-year history of the event.
"These guys could be my sons. They're just coming out of school," he said.
"I think they'll take something out of this and hopefully get better come the pre-season games."