Some of the biggest names in the NRL are set to return to rugby league in the 2016 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
And some of the biggest names in the game will make their debuts with their new clubs in the tournament.
General public tickets were released today for the 2016 tournament which is poised to be the most star-studded yet.
Billy Slater, one of the best fullbacks in the world and Matt Moylan, a superstar of the future, have earmarked the tournament for their return to big-time football, along with Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson.
Meanwhile Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is likely to make his Warriors debuts in Auckland on February 6-7 at Eden Park.
The ticket release was marked by a function at Rugby League Central in Sydney, attended by Slater and Moylan.
Others attending the launch included NRL General Manager of Game Development, Andrew Hill, Martin Snedden, Chief Executive of Duco Events, and Rod Orrock, Director of Buying and Marketing for Dick Smith.
Sales were launched at the same time in Auckland at a launch attended by Shaun Johnson, former Kangaroos and Queensland star Darren Lockyer, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, NRL General Manager of Football Operations Nathan McGuirk and tournament founder David Higgins of Duco Events.
Mr Hill said the NRL had worked with partners Duco Events to ensure tickets for the 2016 tournament represented great value for supporters.
Tickets will be available for the two days of the tournament from $69 NZ ($61 AUD) while children’s tickets in most areas will be half-price.
"This tournament is unique - 16 teams all vying for one trophy on one weekend," Mr Hill said.
"It also represents great value for money.
"Nowhere else can you see so many of the best rugby league players in the world over the course of the two days.
"There's an option for every budget and every fan can see their side play at least three games during the tournament.”
Matt Moylan said he was excited about the prospect of being part of the Nines concept.
"Nines is a great way to start the rugby league year and I certainly hope to be a part of it in 2016" he said.
"The players certainly enjoy playing that type of football and it’s obviously great for the fans, who get to see every team in the NRL in the same ground on the same weekend."
Johnson confirmed his intention to mark his return to the field from injury at the tournament.
"I'm definitely targeting the Nines," Johnson said.
"I'm hoping that is going to be my first game time for 2016. If everything goes smoothly there is no reason why I won't be there."
Mayor Brown said the tournament had already established itself as the sporting centrepiece of Auckland's major events calendar and that success was set to continue in 2016 and beyond.
"This home-grown event continues to attract the big name players and achieve big results for Auckland, generating more than $16 million for the Auckland regional economy in its first two years, and bringing tens of thousands of people to Eden Park for a huge weekend of action and atmosphere," he said.
• Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines, Eden Park
• Day One Saturday February 6
• Day Two Sunday February 7
• All 16 NRL clubs vying for rugby league’s richest prize
• Tickets on sale today
• Book now through nrl.com/tickets