Former premiership-winning Roosters captain Brad Fittler has today been ruled eligible to play in the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines next month after satisfying a number of specific criteria set by the NRL.
NRL Head of Football, Todd Greenberg, made the announcement at a special event at Dick Smith's George Street store in Sydney where Robbie Farah, Willie Mason, Michael Ennis, Adam Reynolds and Anthony Watmough were among NRL stars to showcase the club playing strips for the $A2.34 million event at Eden Park on February 15-16.
Greenberg said the Roosters had applied to the NRL to exercise its discretion to reinstate the retired Fittler for the "specific and sole purpose of competing for the Club" in the two-day, nine-a-side event, in which teams must field at least 12 of their top 25 playing list (including at least one of their top five) in the 16-man squads.
"Fittler will play a valuable mentoring role with the young players in the Roosters squad taking part in the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines," Greenberg said.
"Being the competitor that he is, he has worked hard to ensure he deserves his place in the team, as well as satisfying a range of criteria and minimum standards we have set to reinstate a retired player for registration.
"The Roosters have a particularly heavy schedule leading into the start of the 2014 Telstra Premiership with the World Club Challenge in Sydney the week after the Nines tournament so their application to have Fittler added to their squad for the event in Auckland warranted consideration and underwent a thorough review process."
Nines fast approaching sell-out