Sharks star Todd Carney was on hand at NRL headquarters to help launch the Inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines tournament and unveil the tournament trophy for the rugby league extravaganza scheduled for February 15 and 16.
Also officially revealed today was the Sharks Auckland Nine’s strip, modeled by Carney and featuring the logo of Sharks Nines sponsor Kari Aboriginal Resources.
Paul Ralph, CEO of KARI Aboriginal Resources inc. was looking forward to the event and proud to be continuing to build his organisation's involvement with the Sharks.
“The NRL Nines tournament should be a terrific event and we are delighted again to build on our partnership with the Cronulla Sharks,” Mr Ralph said. “Rugby League is a vehicle that provides inspiration to Aboriginal communities all around NSW.
“We must to continue to build pride and belief in Aboriginal culture if we are ever to overcome the wrongdoings that have hurt Aboriginal people in the past. Building on the success of the Closing the Gap Round this year, it’s terrific to see that the Sharks have again shown their commitment to spreading this message and we’re proud to play our part”.
The unique Sharks jersey is available to order on pre-purchase on line or from the Sharks Store at Sharkies Leagues Club. Visit the Sharks Store link on the website to find out more. Jerseys will be available prior to the tournament on February 15.
New Zealand Rugby League fans have already made the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines the most successful rugby league event in the country’s history with the innovative format set to bring together every NRL team for the two-day event.
Attendance is currently at an impressive 36,000 per day, still two months out from the landmark tournament and is on track to virtually sell out the 44,000 capacity Eden Park on both days (February 15 and 16).
With two months to go before the tournament starts, ticket revenue has passed over $3million – the highest figure ever recorded for a rugby league event in New Zealand.
NRL Chief Executive Dave Smith joined the CEO and Managing Director of Dick Smith, Nick Abboud, along with NRL stars Todd Carney, Willie Tonga, Greg Bird and Robbie Farah to officially launch the Nine’s trophy and to give fans a first look at some of the playing strips.
“This is a brand new product for our fans and members and we couldn’t be happier with the way New Zealand rugby league fans have embraced the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines,” Mr Smith said.
“This new tournament is great for our fans and great for our game. The $3 million mark represents the greatest revenue take by any previous rugby league event in New Zealand by some way.
“There is obviously an appetite for Nines rugby league – something we are very happy about as we look to grow the game in New Zealand.”
This early success signals a commercially viable event and builds a solid platform to establish the NRL Auckland Nines as a signature event for Auckland.
Mr Abboud said: “Dick Smith is proud to be the inaugural naming rights sponsor for the NRL Auckland Nines competition.
“The early success Dave has spoken about today further underpins our decision to be involved and is a tribute to the NRL and the clubs’ foresight in ensuring this tournament is viable from year one.”
Duco Events Director David Higgins backed Mr Abboud’s comments: “I am not surprised by the ticket sales as the event is unique. Unlike other circuit events this is the best-of-the-best coming together for two days of high intensity football for the biggest purse ever offered in any sport and at any time in New Zealand.”
Ticket sales have been helped by the agreement between the tournament and the NRL’s 16 clubs which guarantees at least one top five player from each club’s salary cap will play in Auckland alongside at least 12 of each club’s top 25 salary capped players.
The quality of the teams has also been matched by the prize pool with the winning team at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines banking a winners cheque of $AUD370,000 and the stunning tournament trophy – an organic fusion of NRL Auckland Nines brand identity and rugby league links designed by renowned Australian sculptor Roger Apte.
Event details and tickets at www.ticketek.co.nz
The Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines is a live 31 game two-day rugby league extravaganza:
- Sixteen NRL teams with over 256 players will compete
- Star players are contractually guaranteed
- Teams will be made up of nine players across four pools of four
- AU$2.25 million dollars in prize money
- Almost 90,000 fans expected over two days.
The tournament is thanks to a partnership between the NRL and New Zealand’s Duco Events, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Dick Smith.
ATEED are the foundation host city sponsor and will invest $NZ 9 million over five years while Dick Smith is also on board through to 2018.
Prize money available is a record New Zealand sport’s purse of $AUD 2.25 million.
Winning team ($AUD370,000), runner-up ($AUD240,000), semi-finalists ($AUD165,000), quarter-finalists ($AUD130,000) and round robin losers ($AUD110,000).
• Introduction of the Bonus Zone – a five point try for tries scored in the in-goal area between the goal posts at each end. All tries scored outside the bonus zone will remain four pointers
• Introduction of ‘GoldenTry’ - where if teams are drawn at fulltime – in extra time the first team to score a try wins – with the ‘Golden try’
• Goal-kicks will not feature in the tournament with dropkicks taken in line from where the try was scored worth two points. Penalty dropkicks will be worth two points with a field goal in general play remaining at one point.
• Scrums will consist of five players from each team and will only be used in the event of a double knock-on or a mutual infringement.
• In the event of a successful 40/20 kick, play will recommence with a tap re-start to the kicking team 20 metres in from where the ball crossed the touch line.
• Matches will be re-started by the scoring team through a drop kick off
• Referees will have the power to send players to the sin-bin for five minutes for foul play.
NOTE: Follow the link to purchase information for the Sharks Nines Jersey