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Nines experiment holds much intrigue

Rugby league's bold Nines experiment offers plenty of intrigue as the inaugural tournament kicks off at Eden Park on Saturday.
Nines experiment holds much intrigue
by AAP

By James MacSmith

AUCKLAND, Feb 15 AAP - Rugby league's bold Nines experiment offers plenty of intrigue as the inaugural tournament kicks off at Eden Park on Saturday.

Auckland has been abuzz with talk of the short-form event with NRL coaches and players candidly admitting they don't know what to expect.

Cronulla and Newcastle meet in the opening game at 10.35am (AEDT), before Wests Tigers and one of the tournament favourites Gold Coast meet in the second game at 11am.

Then all eyes will be on league legend Brad Fittler, when he makes his comeback after 10 seasons away from the game for the Sydney Roosters in their 11.25am fixture against Parramatta, with key recruit Corey Norman set to play his first game for the Eels.

In the following game, Brisbane recruit Ben Barba comes up against his former club Canterbury for the first time.

Barba was a surprise inclusion for the tournament but is set to be one of its stars.

The opening day closes out with Penrith signing Jamie Soward coming up against his former St George Illawarra teammates in the final game at 5.25pm.

The teams are split into four pools of four with each side to play two pool games on the Saturday with the last pool games and the finals to be played on Sunday.

The final kicks off at 5.30pm on Sunday.




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