The NRL Nines is back, with all the fast-paced action, fancy dress and future NRL flyers the pre-season tournament has become known for.
Will we see more sleeveless jerseys – like the Storm and Wests Tigers went with for the 2015 tournament – or an even more gaudy trophy than the Auckland iteration served up? Hopefully yes for both.
WHY IS THE NINES COMING BACK?
When the 2018 Nines was cancelled mid-2017, it came amid fears of player burnout with a packed footy schedule giving stars minimal time to recover.
The NRL All-Stars was also scrapped for 2018, before returning in 2019 with a 34-14 win for the Indigenous All-Stars over the Maori All-Stars.
“Nines is the fastest form of our game. It shows the speed, agility and attacking prowess of our most exciting players,” NRL head of football Graham Annesley said at the announcement of the Nines’ return.
“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.
“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.”
WA tourism minister Paul Papalia said he was excited to bring the shorter form of the game across to WA after the success of the State of Origin fixture in 2019.
“We’re thrilled to have locked in the best in rugby league, playing in the fun, fast, Nines format,” he said.
“We have earned our stripes by hosting some blockbuster NRL games in Perth, showing just how popular the sport is here in WA and how well we host big events.
WHERE AND WHEN IS THE 2020 NRL NINES?
The 2020 NRL Nines will he held from February 14-15 – the perfect Valentines Day gift for the footy aficionado. Perth Glory’s 20,500-capacity HBF Park will host the festival.
HOW CAN I WATCH THE 2020 NRL NINES?
Can’t get across our great brown land to watch it in person? Prefer to mis the queues and have your own watch party at home? Easy.
The tournament will be broadcast live on Fox League and Kayo Sports in Australia, as well as SKY in New Zealand.
HOW TO GET TICKETS FOR THE NRL NINES
The Nines will have two-day passes starting from $55 for club members and $60 for general public.
Friday tickets are from $20 for club members or $25 for general public and Saturday tickets are from $35 for club members or $40 for general public.
Check out the full range of packages and grab your tickets here.
HOW THE NRL NINES DRAW WILL WORK
All 16 NRL clubs and four NRLW sides will compete in the revamped concept. The men’s competition will feature four pools, while the women will play a round-robin.
Pool 1: Panthers, Warriors, Roosters, Knights
Pool 2: Bulldogs, Dragons, Eels, Sharks
Pool 3: Raiders, Wests Tigers, Titans, Rabbitohs
Pool 4: Cowboys, Storm, Broncos, Sea Eagles
WOMEN’S ROUND ROBIN
2020 NRL NINES SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (local times)
4:05pm: Warriors (W) v Roosters (W)
4:30pm: Panthers v Roosters
4:55pm: Warriors v Knights
5:20pm: Bulldogs v Eels
5:45pm: Dragons v Sharks
6:10pm: Raiders v Titans
6:35pm: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
7:00pm: Cowboys v Broncos
7:25pm: Storm v Sea Eagles
8:05pm: Broncos (W) v Dragons (W)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15
10:20am: Roosters (W) v Broncos (W)
10:45am: Warriors (W) v Dragons (W)
11:10am: Knights v Panthers
11:35am: Roosters v Warriors
12:00pm: Sharks v Bulldogs
12:25pm: Eels v Dragons
12:55pm: Rabbitohs v Raiders
1:20pm: Titans v Wests Tigers
1:45pm: Sea Eagles v Cowboys
2:10pm: Broncos v Storm
2.40pm: Quarter Final 1 – 1st Pool A v 2nd Pool B
3:05pm: Quarter Final 2 -1st Pool B v 2nd Pool A
3:30pm: Quarter Final 3 -1st Pool C v 2nd Pool D
3:55pm: Quarter Final 4 -1st Pool D v 2nd Pool C
4:20pm: Broncos (W) v Warriors (W)
4:45pm: Dragons (W) v Roosters (W)
5:20pm: Semi Final 1 – Winner Quarter Final 1 v Winner Quarter Final 2
5:45pm: Semi Final 1 – Winner Quarter Final 2 v Winner Quarter Final 4
6:25pm: Women’s Final
7:00pm: Men’s Final
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR THE NRL NINES?
Two nine-minute halves with a two-minute half time period.
Nine players a side with five unlimited interchange players.
Scrums are only formed after a double knock on, with attacking teams electing which side to feed the ball.
No video referee, with one on-field referee, two touch judges and two in-goal judges.
Five minute golden try period in qualifying rounds with the match deemed a draw if there is no score, while unlimited golden try for the finals.
A tap restart takes place after a 40/20.
Five points for a try scored in the bonus zone under the posts, with two point drop kick conversion attempts.
The scoring team will have a drop-kick kick-off at the half way mark to restart play.
Three minute sin bins.
Five tackles in a set.
THE BIG INCENTIVE FOR TEAMS TO PLAY THEIR STARS
When the Nines was the Auckland Nines, each side was required to include 12 of their top 25 players – including one marquee. Still, club doctor-diagnosed vague injuries to stars were common and, though it gave rise to previously unknown flyers – looking at you Gideon Gela-Mosby – the big stars were rarely there to play.
With the move to Perth, a new incentive to bring out the big guns has been introduced. If a team can win both the Nines and 2020 premiership in the same season, they will receive $1 million.
Previously, the winner for the Nines got $500,000.
WHO HAS WON THE NRL NINES IN THE PAST?
The Sydney Roosters were the most recent NRL Nines champions, with the Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Queensland Cowboys also having lifted the trophy.
However, Parramatta’s 2016 triumph was stripped because of salary cap breaches.