Not familiar with how this whole Auckland Nines stuff works? Have no fear! This guide will give you everything you need to know.
What is the Auckland Nines?
Fast, fun and free-flowing football from start to finish.
All 16 NRL clubs will be completing in the two-day tournament with each game comprising of two, nine-minute halves. The nine-a-side teams will play three group games with the top two teams of each group progressing to the knockout rounds, which will be played on Sunday afternoon. The final will be played on Sunday night with the winner taking home majority of the $2.6 million prize pool on offer.
Click Here for an overview of the Auckland Nines rules.
Who are our new boys?
This weekend will see plenty of new faces in Storm jerseys. Former Raiders Mark Nicholls and Jeremy Hawkins will be wearing purple for the first time in their careers. After 10 years in the nation’s capital, the 25-year-old Nicholls made the switch to Melbourne in the summer to establish himself in Craig Bellamy’s prop rotation. Storm fans may remember Hawkins from his try against the Club in Round 6 last season. Luckily he is on our side from now on after the emerging 22-year-old penned a two-year deal in the off-season to move to Melbourne.
Australian schoolboys representative Curtis Scott has turned plenty of heads since arriving at the Club in November. The 18-year-old speedster has rightly earned his spot in the Nines squad and will be one to watch in 2016.
Under 20s player Brodie Croft and Sunshine Coast Falcons player Nafe Seluni have also been rewarded after impressing the coaching staff whilst spending the summer training with the first-team squad.
Who is missing?
Although comeback kid Billy Slater was not quite ready for the Auckland Nines the Club’s medical staff is now targeting Storm’s final trial match against the Bulldogs on February 19 as his return. Billy will still travel with the team to Auckland and assist the coaching staff as will star prop Jesse Bromwich.
Cameron Smith and Will Chambers will remain in Melbourne and continue training before head up north to prepare for next week’s All Stars game.
When, where and who are we playing?
The Auckland Nines will be played this weekend on February 6-7. Every game will be played at the 50,000-capacity Eden Park in Auckland with yet another big crowd expected to turn out for the showpiece event.
Storm have been drawn in the Waiheke Group against Sydney, South Sydney and Parramatta.
Saturday, February 6, Storm v Eels– 10:55am
Saturday, February 6, Storm v Rabbitohs – 2:50pm
Sunday, February 7, Storm v Roosters – 8.35am
* All times are in EDT
Who are our opponents bringing?
1.Corey Norman (c), 2.Semi Radradra, 3.Vai Toutai, 4.John Folau, 5.Bureta Faraimo, 6.Luke Kelly, 7. Mitch Cornish, 8.Junior Paulo, 9.Cameron King, 10.Peni Terepo, 11.Manu Ma'u, 12.David Gower, 13.Tepai Moeroa, 14.Bevan French, 15.Matt Woods, 16.Ryan Morgan, 17.Kelepi Tanginoa, 18.Cody Nelson.
1. Alex Johnston, 2. Michael Oldfield, 3. Bryson Goodwin, 4. Ed Murphy, 5. Cameron McInnes, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Damien Cook, 8. John Sutton,9. Thomas Burgess, 10. Kyle Turner, 11. Jason Clark, 12. Paul Carter, 13. Chris Grevsmuhl, 14. John Olive, 15. Kirisome Auvaá, 16. Hymel Hunt, 17. Jack Gosiewski, 18. Zane Musgrove.
1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. Braith Anasta (c), 7. Tyler Cornish, 8. Isaac Liu, 9. Ian Henderson, 10. Abraham Papalii, 11. Vincent Leuluai, 12. Eloni Vunakece, 13. Nat Butcher, 14. Connor Watson, 15. Joseph Manu, 16. Nathan Smith, 17. Joey Lussick, 18. Omar Slaimankhel.
How are we preparing?
Assistant Adam O’Brien is taking charge of the team with Head Coach Craig Bellamy heading to Auckland to observe the team’s performance. During this week the Club has placed an increasing focus on their Nines preparation. Watch the video below as O’Brien talks about the squad and preparations for the two-day tournament.
Where can I watch?
Storm fans catch watch every minute of the Auckland Nines LIVE on Fox Sports 1 Channel 501.