Dates set for 2015 Auckland Nines tournament

By Steve Deane

Fans get into the spirit of the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park. Photo /  Richard Robinson
Fans get into the spirit of the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park. Photo / Richard Robinson

The second NRL Auckland Nines tournament will be held on Saturday January 31 and Sunday February 1 next year, organisers have confirmed.

The two-day format featuring all 16 NRL clubs ? which drew a sell out crowd to Eden Park when the event was first staged in February this year - has been retained.

The only major change sees squad sizes increased from 16 to 18 players to reduce the demand on players.

A prize pool of more than $2.6 million will again be up for grabs.

The inaugural tournament this year, won by the North Queensland Cowboys, was played in front of a crowd of nearly 90,000 over the two days.

"The atmosphere this year was absolutely brilliant and saw thousands of Australians travel to New Zealand for the events first year," NRL Head of Commercial, Paul Kind said.

"Not only does it produce great football but it brings enormous economic benefits to New Zealand."

A post-event independent evaluation of the 2014 event found that this year's tournament expanded Auckland's GDP by $9.35 million, of which $3.24 million came into the New Zealand economy from offshore.

It attracted 16,000 New Zealanders from outside Auckland in addition to the 6,000 Australians who crossed the Tasman.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the Nines provided outstanding entertainment for league fans and superb economic returns for Auckland in 2014.

"Event organisers will once again transform Eden Park into a rugby league playground, and the Nines is set to become a very special event in Auckland's major events landscape", he said.

David Higgins of promoters Duco Events urged fans to put their names on a Ticketek waiting list to secure seats to the 2015 tournament.

"We expect huge demand for next year's event and, by using the waiting list, fans can be notified when different categories of tickets go on sale," he said. Tickets will go on sale to the general public from October 9.

Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines

• Saturday Jan 31 and Sunday Feb 1, 2015

• Games over two days

• 16 NRL teams with 288 players competing

• Squad size has increased from 16 to 18 players

• Teams will be made up of nine players across four pools of four

• $2.6 million in prize money

- NZ Herald

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