New Vodafone Warriors back rower Bodene Thompson joined players from the other 15 NRL clubs today to officially launch the range of jerseys for the 2015 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines tournament being played at Eden Park on January 31 and February 1 next year.
Thompson, a member of the Kiwis’ champion Four Nations team, was kitted up in the stunning Canterbury of New Zealand jersey named Tangaroa (god of the ocean).
The paua-coloured Tangaroa has been one of the most popular jerseys in the club’s history.
For the first time, 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.
Apart from Thompson other representative players modelling their clubs’ strips were James Maloney (Roosters), Issac Luke (Rabbitohs), Brett Morris (Bulldogs), Josh Dugan (Dragons) and Matt Gillett (Broncos). They joined NRL head of commercial Paul Kind and Dick Smith director of marketing Neil Merola to launch the 2015 Nines jerseys at the Dick Smith store on George Street, Sydney.
The $2.4 million event will also include a nine-a-side match-up between the current women's world champions the Jillaroos against New Zealand's Kiwi Ferns.
“The success of this year’s tournament, which attracted over 90,000 fans and many star NRL players, shows that this event has the potential to be New Zealand's biggest summer event,” said Kind.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for fans to see all 16 clubs in the one place at Eden Park.
“This is also an opportunity to grow our game in New Zealand and for our clubs and players to share in the spectacle.”
Dugan said he was excited to again be a part of the Nines concept, which involves a two-day, nine-a-side tournament and was last year won by the North Queensland Cowboys.
“I loved the experience in last year’s Nines and I’m looking forward to being a part of the shorter format again,” Dugan said.
“Everyone who was involved enjoyed being a part of the concept and it will be a great way to kick the year off.”
Merola added: “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.”
Tickets have been selling fast since the NRL, in partnership with Duco Events and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), confirmed the event for Eden Park again.
Travel packages are available from Sportsnet Holidays www.sportsnetholidays.com and tickets can be purchased from Ticketek.
2015 NRL AUCKLAND NINES - POOLS
Rangitoto Pool | Eels, Sea Eagles, Knights, Dragons
Waiheke Pool | Storm, Cowboys, Panthers, Rabbitohs
Piha Pool | Roosters, Broncos, Bulldogs, Sharks
Hunua Ranges Pool | Tigers, Vodafone Warriors, Raiders, Titans