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NRL Nines the great unknown

It's hard to get anyone in rugby league to agree on anything but NRL players and coaches are unanimous in their belief they don't know what to expect at this weekend's Auckland Nines.
NRL Nines the great unknown
by AAP

By James MacSmith

AUCKLAND, Feb 14 AAP - It's hard to get anyone in rugby league to agree on anything but NRL players and coaches are unanimous in their belief they don't know what to expect at this weekend's Auckland Nines.

The game is sure to more closely resemble the 13-a-side game more than the defunct Sevens format but as to how much no one can truly say.

After chatting with his Kangaroos teammates Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen, who will play in the opening game against Newcastle, admitted he still came up empty.

"We have no idea how we are going to play," Gallen said.

"I was speaking with Corey Parker and Daly Cherry-Evans before and they had no idea either.

"We will just have to get out there and see what happens."

Manly coach Geoff Toovey won the World Sevens as a player but was none the wiser.

"It's just a case of suck it and see," Toovey said.

"It is very much a teething period for the tournament. I think it will be a success long term but it will be interesting to see what happens out there this year."

"Look for the chip and chase though, we might go for a bit of that."

The chip and chase is one tactic that could be employed with some success along with dummyhalf running, short kickoffs, second-phase play and the desperate attempts to score, and stop, five-point tries.

"We are the second game up so we will just watch the first one and learn a thing or two from that," said Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods.

"I'll be there to hold up the middle and try to stop the little blokes getting through but it is all a bit of an unknown really."

Even former junior New Zealand touch football star and Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson says he will have to learn on the go.

"I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

"We will just run with it and see how it goes.

"But we are fielding a strong side and I am confident in how we are going to go.




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