Downer NRL Auckland Nines club programme regional hosting hubs announced.
Six Auckland rugby league clubs will host NRL teams and neighbouring clubs in February 2017 in the revamped Downer NRL Auckland Nines club programme.
Manurewa, Mangere East, East Coast Bays, Mt Albert, Pakuranga and Waitemata rugby league clubs will each host two to three NRL teams at public events in the lead-up to the Waitangi Weekend tournament.
The club programme is evolving after feedback from local clubs. In 2014 and 2016, 16 of Auckland’s rugby league clubs were selected to each host players from one NRL team.
In 2017, clubs were able to apply to be a local hosting hub, welcoming players the NRL teams at events where organisers will work with neighbouring clubs to share NRL star signing sessions, skills and drills sessions, and club registration drives.
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) runs the club programme in partnership with the NRL, NZ Rugby League and Duco Events.
ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says changes to the club programme will allow more rugby league fans and players to get up close to their league heroes.
“Auckland clubs asked how more of them could be involved in 2017, so we reconfigured the programme to give all clubs that want to be involved the opportunity to work together.
“With two or three NRL teams visiting each hosting hub, the events can be longer, with more NRL players connecting with grassroots fans and players, particularly the next generation of players.”
Nearly 9,000 people attended the club visits in 2016, and Auckland-based clubs signed up more than 600 new members.
NZRL Counties Manukau Zone General Manager Kasey King says it is exciting that the club programme is returning.
“This opportunity not only gives rugby league people, but anyone interested in sport, the chance to see some of the world’s best players and officials in their own backyard. For many people, this will serve a life-long memory.
“This is truly rugby league’s contribution to helping build stronger communities, and it’s just one part of what makes the Downer NRL Auckland Nines such a great event.”
2017 Downer NRL Auckland club programme visits
Thursday 2 February, 5 – 7.45pm: Mountford Park, Manurewa.
Hosted by Manurewa Marlins
- 5:00pm – South Sydney Rabbitohs
- 6:15pm – Paramatta Eels
- 6:45pm – Canberra Raiders
Thursday 2 February, 6 – 7.45pm, Walter Massey Park, Mangere.
Hosted by Mangere East Hawks
- 6:15pm – Wests Tigers
- 6:45pm – Gold Coast Titans
- 6:45pm – Brisbane Broncos
Thursday 2 February, 5 – 8pm, Ti Rakau Park, Pakuranga.
Hosted by Pakuranga Jaguars
- 5:00pm – Sydney Roosters
- 6:30pm – Manly Sea Eagles
- 7:15pm – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Thursday 2 February, 5 – 7.45pm, Ranui Domain, Ranui.
Hosted by Waitemata Seagulls
- 5:15pm – Penrith Panthers
- 6:00pm – Melbourne Storm
- 6:45pm – Cronulla Sharks
Thursday 2 February, 5 – 7pm, Fowlds Park, Mt Albert.
Hosted by Mt Albert Rugby League Club
- 5:00pm – North Queensland Cowboys
- 6:00pm – Vodafone Warriors
Friday 3 February, 5 – 7pm, Freyberg Park, Browns Bay.
Hosted by East Coast Bays Rugby League Club
- 5:00pm – St George-Illawarra Dragons
- 5:30pm – Newcastle Knights
The 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines takes place on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 February. This is the only rugby league event where fans can see all 16 NRL clubs over one weekend, featuring more than 288 star players in 31 action-packed games.