Dragons, Sharks to feature in NRL pre-season Nines tournament in Perth

Back again: Sharks co-captain Wade Graham fails to stop the Titans from scoring at the 2017 Auckland Nines. Picture: NRL Photos
Back again: Sharks co-captain Wade Graham fails to stop the Titans from scoring at the 2017 Auckland Nines. Picture: NRL Photos

Cronulla and St George Illawarra can start making plans around their pre-season schedules after the NRL announced the return of a club nines tournament ahead of next season.

The NRL Nines will be played at the 32,000 capacity HBF Park in Perth on February 14 and 15 and will feature all 16 NRL and four NRLW teams.

The men's competition will feature four pools while the women's tournament will be played in a round robin.

The NRL Nines had been played in Auckland from 2014 to 2017 but had been left off the calendar for the last two seasons.

A World Cup Nines was played at Parramatta last weekend, with a revamped club version now scheduled to make a comeback.

NRL head of elite football Graham Annesley launched the event at Scarborough Beach on Tuesday alongside West Australian tourism minister Paul Papalia and sports minister Mick Murray.

Jai Field races away for the Dragons against Parramatta at the 2017 Auckland Nines. Picture: NRL Photos

Jai Field races away for the Dragons against Parramatta at the 2017 Auckland Nines. Picture: NRL Photos

Annesley said Perth was the perfect location to host the event on the back of the success of last season's second State of Origin match, which was also played on the west coast at the 65,000-seat Optus Stadium.

"The sell-out crowd in Perth for State of Origin highlighted how much interest West Australians have in rugby league and we are committed to growing the game here,'' he said.

"There are few better destinations than summer in Perth and we want this event to be a summer vibes festival. We're looking forward to seeing a stadium of colour to kick-off our 2020 season."

"Nines is the fastest form of our game. It shows the speed, agility and attacking prowess of our most exciting players. There's a lot on the line this year. Any club who can win both the Nines and the NRL Telstra Premiership grand final will collect $1 million in prizemoney for the season.

"Our partnership with the WA Government is growing stronger every year. Their commitment to hosting rugby league events in Perth will inject more visitors into the city and more money into the local economy."

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