Here’s a look at the Piha 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
Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, Gold Coast Titans, St George-Illawarra Dragons
Canberra Raiders: Jason Croker returns to the NRL in a cameo appearance for the Raiders at the Nines, ten years after leaving the club to join Super League. The side will be led by his namesake Jarrod with their chances boosted with the selection of Sisa Waqa, Jordan Rapana and Brenko Lee. One notable omission is Blake Austin who’s rested from the tournament.
Cronulla Sharks: The Sharks mean business at this tournament after being edged out in the golden point Nines Final against cross city rivals South Sydney. They will be without Wade Graham who alongside Blake Ayshford, now with the Warriors, made the Nines Team of the Torunament last year. Jack Bird and Chad Townsend will steer the Sharks around in the absence of star recruit James Maloney.
Gold Coast Titans: With a dismal 2015 ending in the departure of James Roberts, the Titans will be hoping the Nines sets a good tone for 2016. Ashley Taylor makes his debut for the club with Kane Elgey’s season over before it even started. Chris McQueen also turns out in the aqua for the first time after a mid-summer ‘merry-go-round’ transfer from the Bunnies. Shannon Walker gets a second chance in the NRL after pulling the plug on making Australia’s Rugby Sevens squad for this year’s Rio Olympics.
St George-Illawarra Dragons: Josh Dugan has the honour of captaining the Red V in Auckland this weekend. Their chances will be boosted with new recruit Tim Lafai looking to overcome a disappointing 2015 with the Bulldogs as he turns out for his new club. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa returns to the club where he made his NRL debut back in 2010 and is selected in the Dragons squad. Kurt Mann is a welcome addition from Melbourne.
WHO WILL ADVANCE?
Matt Pritchard: Sharks, Raiders
James Morgan: Raiders, Dragons
Sam Dasey: Sharks, Raiders
Rachel O’Reilly: Sharks, Raiders
Brandon Lee: Sharks, Dragons
POLL: Who will make the quarter finals from the Piha Group #NRLAKL9s
— NothingButRL (@NothingButRL) February 3, 2016