Here’s a look at the Rangitoto Group for this weekend’s NRL Auckland Nines to take place at Eden Park.
Click here for all the squads
Click here NRL Nines Draw
Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys, Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers
Newcastle Knights: Nathan Brown has named a strong-ish side to play at the tournament. Plenty of speed out wide with the inclusion of Jake Mamo, Nathan Ross and Akuila Uate. Good chance for five-eighth Will Pearsall to make an impact for the Knights after a move from the Eagles during the off-season. Watch for Jaeleen Feeney who’s likely to debut for the Knights in the NRL this season after being instrumental in their NSW Cup victory last season.
North Queensland Cowboys: The defending NRL champions welcome back club legend Matt Bowen for the trip to Auckland. A strong line-up even without Johnathan Thurston. Michael Morgan developed into a superstar last season and with the help of Lachlan Coote and Ray Thompson should be able to catapult the Cowboys into the knockout stage of the competition.
Penrith Panthers: Jeremy Latimore has been named by Anthony Griffin as captain of the Panthers at the Nines tournament. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak returns to footy after a collapsed lung ended his 2015 campaign. Panther fans will be excited by the introduction of Te Maire Martin who is seen as the next Benji Marshall. Will Smith will be hoping to continue his great form at the end of last season as he fights to retain a top grade spot.
Wests Tigers: Chris Lawrence leads the Tigers this weekend in Auckland. A decent squad led in attack by Justin Hunt and Kevin Naiqama. Manaia Cherrington, the forgotten hooker following the Robbie Farah-Matt Ballin situation during the off-season, gets his chance to impress and give head coach Jason Taylor a giant headache going into the first game of the new season.
WHO WILL ADVANCE?
Matt Pritchard: Knights, Cowboys
James Morgan: Panthers, Cowboys
Sam Dasey: Panthers, Cowboys
Rachel O’Reilly: Panthers, Cowboys
Brandon Lee: Panthers, Cowboys
POLL: Who will make the quarter finals from the Rangitoto Group #NRLAKL9s
— NothingButRL (@NothingButRL) February 3, 2016