The Auckland NRL Nines will be suspended next year to ease the workload of players following the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

After running in Auckland for four years, the Nines are now looking at being held in Australia when the tournament resumes in 2019.

NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said there was every chance the NRL Nines would move back across the tasman when it returns to the calendar and the NRL would seek expressions of interest from cities interested in hosting the event.

For 2018, Abdo said that with the Rugby League World Cup running until 2 December, it was not viable to ask elite players to back up for the Nines tournament.


He said that Auckland had been a fantastic host of the event and confirmed that there is a strong likelihood that the event will return to New Zealand in the future rotation.

In place of the Nines, league history could be made in Auckland next year, with the first NRL double-header to be staged outside Australia.

Along with the Warriors, the proposed double-header could involve some of the bigger clubs in the NRL, who have traditionally strong fan bases in New Zealand.

That would mean the likes of the Broncos, Roosters, Raiders, Bulldogs and Dragons being near the top of the list. The Sea Eagles and Storm are also possibilities, though they have already committed to another Suncorp double-header in 2018.

The Herald understands planning and negotiations with the NRL are well advanced.

Crucially, the proposal also has the support of Auckland Council's events arm Ateed, who are believed to be committed to finding an alternative to the Nines, should it not go ahead in Auckland in 2018.