2016 Auckland Nines tickets now on sale
Superstar Billy Slater is revved up to make his comeback from shoulder surgery in the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines in February and enjoy playing a unique brand of football he hasn't had the chance to experience before.
Tickets for the most thrilling event in rugby league can be purchased through the NRL on NRL.com.
Slater says he has always wanted to play in the Nines and is really looking forward to finally doing so.
"I'm really keen to play - I can't wait to get out there," he says. "It'll be seven months post-surgery by then - a long time since I played footy - so I'll be dying to play. It's definitely my aim. Nines is a really dynamic style of footy and I think it would really suit my game.
"The Nines is a fantastic concept. It's really exciting. It isn't easy - I've seen the boys out on their feet playing the Nines in the last couple of years. It's something to look forward to in February, especially for a guy like myself who has unfortunately missed out on half of the season."
Slater says his recovery from surgery has gone very well so far and he can look forward with confidence to the day he starts playing again.
"The surgeon was happy with the operation and the physios are happy with where I'm at now," he says. "It's just about rehab and physio now, to get the range and strength back into my shoulder.
"I'll probably be running in the next month or so and I'm pretty sure I'll be doing a fair chunk of the pre-season before Christmas. After Christmas I assume I'll be doing some contact work, so then I can aim at getting out there in the Nines and really enjoying a great weekend of football."
"I reckon there will be a lot of representative stars from various clubs playing in the Nines, because a lot of them will get a good rest with no Test matches for Australia at the end of this season."
The 2016 event will be held at Eden Park in Auckland on 6-7 February and tickets to "The Greatest Weekend" are now available at prices ranging from just $NZD69 (approx. $AUD61) for a two-day pass.
Tickets for children are available at half the adult price in most categories.
The biggest stars in the NRL, representing all 16 clubs, will again be playing in the event - including superstars Billy Slater and Shaun Johnson, who have each nominated the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines as their comeback date from major injuries that ended their 2015 NRL seasons early.
It is going to be a great opportunity for league fans to see the best players in the game exercising their super skills on an open field.
There is nothing like this tournament for excitement, with NRL teams facing up against NRL teams in quick succession over one action-packed weekend leading up to the final prize.
The fans will also be able to get up close and personal and watch teams go through their warm-ups for games on the number one field.
There will be a whopping $NZ2.6 million in prizemoney up for grabs at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines. Don't miss it. This is your chance to see the greatest rugby league players in the world really turning it on for the fans.
TRAVEL PACKAGES ALSO ON-SALE
3 x night packages incl airfares, transfers, accomm and 2 x day ticket from $1,399 pp
4 x night packages incl airfares, transfers, accomm and 2 x day ticket $1,464 pp
5 x night packages incl airfares, transfers, accomm and 2 x day ticket from $1,554 pp
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The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club.