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Player reactions to Auckland Nines

Player reactions to Auckland Nines

The Auckland Nines, a two-day rugby league extravaganza will be contested by the NRL’s 16 teams as they compete for the inaugural title and a share of a record New Zealand and Australasian sport’s purse of A$2.25 million.

Here is all the reaction to the news from the Rugby League community.


“This is a fantastic opportunity to grow our game and for our clubs and players to share in a significant new investment in Rugby League. 

“It is an exciting format that will attract new fans and television audiences and it provides a stage for rising stars to emerge and showcase their skills alongside the biggest names in our game.

“I want to thank the Auckland City Council and ATEED, and tournament promoter Duco, for their support in the creation of the Nines, which will become a celebrated feature of the NRL’s pre-season for years to come.” 

TODD GREENBERG - NRL Head of Football 

“Make no mistake; the 16 teams will be there to win. 

“Clubs have already started making their plans for camps and trials in New Zealand to make sure they have the best possible build-up to the Nines. 

“It’s a unique style of play and it will really showcase the skills of our players. 

“There is certainly a lucrative prize on offer for the winner and once the teams take the field everyone will see just how determined they will be to perform well and win the inaugural Nines crown.”


“We’re excited about the Bronco’s participation in the NRL Auckland Nines and we’re coming over there to win it.”

GRANT MAYER – CEO Wests Tigers

“We are bringing our best team to the NRL Auckland Nines.  We are coming to win it.”


“This new and exciting concept will be an innovative and fresh new way to launch a Rugby League year and into an important market for the game. We’re looking forward to our members, fans and corporates embracing this right across the code”


“The Auckland Nines are an exciting addition to the rugby league calendar and one that we as a club are embracing. If it is a form of the game that has the potential to attract a new group of fans, that can only be positive for the game.”


“We’re thrilled about having the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park and we’re excited about being able to throw our total support behind what will be the biggest rugby league event ever staged in this country.

“This is a fantastic opportunity not just for Eden Park and Auckland but for the whole country. Having all 16 clubs and hundreds of the game’s players here at the one time is a first for the NRL and will be a tremendous way to build up to the 2014 NRL season.

“As a club host, the Vodafone Warriors are committed to doing all we can to ensure the Nines are a huge success and we’d encourage our members and sporting fans to get on board by being there on February 15 and 16.”

RAELENE CASTLE - CEO Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

“We’re really looking forward to the NRL Auckland Nines and as a Kiwi I’m really looking forward to showing our fans some fantastic Auckland hospitality.”


“The Raiders are planning on sending a strong team to Auckland and we’re looking forward to some exciting rugby league over the tournament.”

MATTHEW ELLIOTT – Vodafone Warriors Coach

“This is a brilliant way to kick-start the new season.

It’s a tremendous opportunity for the game to sell itself to a different market as well as appealing to all the people who already love our game. I can’t think of a better way to spend two days than being there to take in the action on February 15 and 16.

As for how the Vodafone Warriors approach it, we’ll be trying to win it, especially in front of our own members and supporters in our own home town. We’ve certainly got plenty of players well-equipped to excel in Nines and I can promise we’ll be using the strongest squad available at the time.”

WAYNE BENNETT – Newcastle Knights coach 

“The NRL Auckland Nines is going to be a great celebration of rugby league and the Knights can’t wait to be a part of that.”

JOHN CARTWRIGHT – Gold Coast Titians coach

“Looking forward to the NRL Auckland Nines. We’re bringing down our best team and we’re coming down there to win it. I reckon it is going to be great.”

MAL MENINGA – Queensland Origin coach

“It’s going to be huge – 100,000 people over two days at Eden Park. It will be sensational. The Nines will be our advertisement for rugby league around the world.”

LAURIE DALEY – New South Wales Origin coach

“A lot of players who take part will be some of the best players in the NRL but also some of the exciting young talent coming through our system. It will be a wonderful spectacle and hopefully everyone in New Zealand gets along to support it because they’ll see some great football played.”

SAM THAIDAY – Brisbane Broncos skipper

“I am absolutely looking forward to playing the NRL Auckland Nines. It’s a fantastic concept, a fantastic competition – a chance to play in front of 100,000 fans over two days, what an experience. And what a great opportunity to try and win the first one.”

ROBBIE FARAH – West Tigers skipper

“The NRL Auckland Nines – I’m coming and us Tigers want to win it.”

PAUL GALLEN – Cronulla Sharks skipper

“I can’t wait to play in the NRL Auckland Nines in front of 100,000 people over two days.”

WILLIE MASON – Newcastle Knights player

“The Newcastle Knights are coming to win the NRL Auckland Nines.”

ANTHONY WATMOUGH – Manly Sea Eagles player

“At Manly, we are looking to win. We are going to bringour best side and I can’t wait to play.”

GREG BIRD – Gold Coast Titans player

“A 100,000 people, over one weekend – it’s going to be action packed, it’s going to be fast and there’s going to be a little bit of extra space so hopefully we can get the speed men into the game and have a bit of fun. I will definitely be playing in the NRL Auckland Nines – see you there.”

TODD CARNEY – Cronulla Sharks player

“I’m really looking forward to the NRL Auckland Nines. I can’t wait to play and we’re bringing our best.”

DAVID KENNEDY – CEO, Eden Park Trust

“The NRL Nines will be a fantastic event not just for rugby league and Eden Park, but also for Auckland as whole. 

“The atmosphere inside Eden Park will be second to none. Following the redevelopment of the ground, Eden Park is in a position where it can offer the best facilities for the competing teams and for the fans.

“The concourse will allow people to move around with ease during the day and utilise our 50 food and beverage outlets. And with 350 television monitors around the ground and our two 110 square-metre screens in operation it will near-impossible to miss any of the action.

“We are excited to be hosting the inaugural NRL Nines. I have great admiration for the team at Duco Events. What they have pulled off in bringing multiple parties together to make this event happening is incredible. They deserve the spotlight today.”

RACHAEL CARROLL – General Manager Destination and Marketing, ATEED 

“Duco’s Nines concept stacks up to Auckland’s Major Events Strategy’s criteria for creating an anchor event for Auckland that generates significant international exposure, economic impact and visitation.

“The NRL Auckland Nines is the only event of its kind in New Zealand, bringing stars of all 16 NRL clubs to Auckland for two days. This is unprecedented - never before in the game's history has all 16 NRL teams played in one tournament, in one place for one weekend.

“The tournament will become an economic anchor over time and bring legacy benefits to Auckland and New Zealand by way of rugby league development, including:

  • Engagement with youth
  • Growing the sport through participation and high performance
  • Better engagement with the sport and a commitment to work with the NRL and NZRL to attract more major rugby league events to Auckland

“The NRL Auckland Nines is one of a series of events that contributes towards Auckland’s goal to be the world’s most liveable city

“Hosting the NRL Auckland Nines will go a long way to enhancing the profile of rugby league in New Zealand and will leave lasting legacies in Auckland.”


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