The 16 NRL clubs today launched their jerseys for the 2015 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines with young gun Jack Bird showing off the distinctive strip to be worn by the Sharks in the tournament which kicks off in late January.
Clubs will wear everything from basketball cut jerseys through to Aussie Rules-style tops for the summer event, unveiling some of the most innovative jerseys ever produced for a rugby league tournament.
The $2.4 million Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines tournament will be held on Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1 at Auckland’s Eden Park next year.
Joining Bird on stage for the jersey launch at the Dick Smith store on George Street, Sydney were representative stars James Maloney (Roosters), Issac Luke (Rabbitohs), Brett Morris (Bulldogs), Josh Dugan (Dragons) and Matt Gillett (Broncos), as well as NRL Head of Commercial Paul Kind and Dick Smith Director of Marketing Neil Merola and players from the other participating clubs.
While yet to play an official game in Sharks colours, head Coach Shane Flanagan has Bird earmarked for a spot in the Nines squad, with his versatility set to be an asset considering the unique format of the event.
The Sharks have been drawn in the Piha Pool for the Nines, against NRL heavyweights the Roosters, Broncos and Bulldogs.
At the 2014 event the Sharks progressed through to the semi-final stage of the event in an impressive first up performance. The North Queensland Cowboys emerged as winners of the inaugural Nines championship.
Also included in the schedule for the 2015 Nines will be a nine-a-side match-up between the current women's World Champions the Jillaroos against New Zealand's Kiwi Ferns.
“The Auckland Nines tournament was huge last year, with a sell-out crowd of over 90,000 in two days, and next year’s tournament will be even bigger. Having players from all 16 NRL clubs, dressed in their Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines kits, visit our flagship Sydney store is a great way to kick things off,” Mr Merola from Dick Smith added.
Since the NRL, in partnership with Duco Events and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) announced that the Nines would be held at Eden Park on 31 January and 1 February, tickets for the 2015 tournament have been selling fast.
For more information and to purchase tickets to the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines, visit www.ticketek.co.nz/nrlakl9s
The 2015 NRL Sharks Nines jerseys can be purchased either online at www.sharksstore.com.au or by visiting the Sharks Shop in Sharkies Leagues Club.
2015 Auckland Nines Pool Draw
Rangitoto Pool: Eels, Sea Eagles, Knights, Dragons
Waiheke Pool: Storm, Cowboys, Panthers, Rabbitohs
Piha Pool: Roosters, Broncos, Bulldogs, Sharks
Hunua Ranges Pool: Tigers, Warriors, Raiders, Titans