Turner wants the Nines to go global
Raiders recruit Jordan Turner has been so impressed with the rugby league vibe in New Zealand that he wants to see the Auckland Nines concept expanded to include Super League clubs, or, if possible, the UK to host its own Nines event.
The 28-year-old said he was thrilled to finally be a part of the tournament he had heard so much about, and lamented the fact it didn't receive enough exposure in the UK.
"I've always been a big watcher of the NRL so I've always been aware of it, but because there hasn't been a lot of coverage back home, I haven't seen too many highlights," Turner told NRL.com.
"It's a concept that I'm really excited to play because there's nothing like this back in the UK. It's something you can look back on at the end of your career and say that you got to experience a weekend in New Zealand and play an exciting brand of rugby league."
Such is Turner's excitement that he hopes to one day see the UK adopt a similar competition for Super League sides, or, at the very least, send a few teams down to Auckland to build rugby league's global brand.
"I heard a couple of years ago that they were thinking about putting an English team into this tournament," he said.
"I know it would be tricky with teams releasing players and having to travel across the world, but I think it would be a great concept for some of the English players to come over and experience this.
"It would help build the Nines profile back home and maybe we could see something similar down the track."
In what is his first trip to NZ, Turner said he had already fallen in love with the country and its people.
The Raiders, Rabbitohs and Eels visited Manurewa in Auckland's south on Thursday evening to meet and greet diehard fans from the local community. The experience resonated with Turner whose love for rugby league grew when professional players back in the UK visited his school.
"I love going to new countries and experiencing different cultures. The New Zealand culture is quite distinctive and it's great to finally meet and mingle with the locals because they seem like a great set of people," he said.
"It takes you back to when you were a kid. When I was younger I appreciated when the professional guys would come down to visit us. It meant a lot then, and I'm sure it will stay with these kids today for a long time. It keeps us players grounded and reminds us where we come from."