Todd Greenberg announces the Nines World Cup will be played at Western Sydney Stadium.
Todd Greenberg announces the Nines World Cup will be played at Western Sydney Stadium.

NRL launch Nines World Cup

The Nines World Cup will be played at Western Sydney Stadium in October, two weeks after the 2019 grand final.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg made the announcement that the inaugural tournament would be played at the end of the season, rather than the beginning.

"It is a simple message that if you build facilities like what you see behind me, the world's very best events will continue to come," Greenberg said.

"This is born out of the international market and this event could have gone anywhere in the world and it is the first time we have ever had it.

"I can't tell you how pleased I am to say, that the first time the International Nines will be played will be here at Western Sydney Stadium.

"I think that speaks volumes for infrastructure development of this country.

"This is an event that comes only once every four years and it is happening here in Western Sydney."

The finer details of the teams that will compete is being negotiated, but Greenberg confirmed there will be a men's and women's tournament.

"You will see plenty of NRL players and plenty of NRLW players and you will have 12 men's nations and four women's nations," Greenberg said.

"You can expect to see the very best competing on both Saturday and Sunday."

One of the criticisms of having the tournament at the end of a long season is that the best players may be unavailable due to injury.

However Greenberg believes players will be enticed to play for their countries and compete for a World Cup.

"The players desperately want to play for their countries," Greenberg said.

"We are looking to put international schedules into place at the end of next season, so there is a clear international window.

"I can imagine the likes of our pacific nations playing here in October. Imagine PNG, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji up against Australia, New Zealand, England plus other nations.

"It will be a festival. Anyone who saw Australia play Tonga in New Zealand only a couple of weeks ago will see the passion that we have for international football."

While player burnout is a genuine concern, Greenberg believes the less taxing format of Nines will ensure players will not be put at risk.

"We have looked at a number of competing interests around player workload, but bringing Nines to the international part of the game I think we will have great success," Greenberg said.

 

An artists impression of Western Sydney Stadium.
An artists impression of Western Sydney Stadium.

"We are going to see players representing their nations, which is different to their clubs, but the workload and balance of players is equally important.

"We have taken this concept through all of our clubs and we have had discussions with the players association and I think players will want to play for their nations in a different format.

"We had enormous success in the Nines tournament in Auckland over a long period of time. "Players really enjoyed the carnival and festival atmosphere, as did the fans and I expect it to be exactly the same if not better."

The final teams eligible for the tournament will be finalised on an invitation basis at a later date.

"There will be an invitation process run through the international federation and there will be a wide-ranging representation of nations," Greenberg said.

"The details of prize money we are not prepared to release at the moment because there is a discussion to be had with the collective bargaining agreement with our players association.

"However you can be assured there will be hundreds of thousands of dollars up for grabs."

News Corp Australia


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