NRL NINES | Thompson pumped
Vodafone Warriors recruit Bodene Thompson is holding out hope for a second NRL Nines experience at the 2015 event at Eden Park - and this time in front of the home crowd.
The Tauranga-born back rower, a member of the Kiwis' Four Nations-winning squad, played in the inaugural tournament with Wests Tigers and would like nothing better than to experience the buzz of a home crowd this time around.
"Every time the Warriors ran out there was a crazy roar, they really got behind the them last year," said Thompson.
"They got to the semis but then got crunched so we'll be looking to go one step further and make it to the final this year. It'll be good though, it'll be fun to play.
"All the forwards we've got are crazy fast with all the skills, powerful and strong, and 'SJ' (Shaun Johnson) setting everything up. It's definitely the type of game we want to play in and we're looking forward to it."
Newcastle centre Dane Gagai, on the comeback trail from a hamstring injury, said the second edition should be every bit as exciting as the first.
"I want to be a part of our Nines squad because it's a great competition and a great atmosphere," he said.
"The crowd were outstanding and all the costumes and everyone was enjoying the party-like atmosphere and having a good time watching us all play some good footy.
"After last year being a part of it you know now that every club has a lot to bring – there was a lot of speed, strength and open space – but obviously the team to beat are the Cowboys.
"The Warriors had a good run over there too but I’m pretty excited to play against the reigning champions and hopefully being able to bring that shield home with us."