31 Jan 2017

Scrap Auckland Nines says Penrith boss

12:34 pm on 31 January 2017

Penrith rugby league club want the NRL Auckland Nines scrapped.

The Panther chief executive Brian Fletcher has labelled the pre-season competition an unnecessary risk to players, ahead of the tournament's fourth edition which starts on Saturday.

Fletcher has questioned the competition's value to leading players who whose off-season break was shortened by representative duties, including last year's end-of-season Four Nations.

He was also concerned by the impact on players who have been recovering from injury in the pre-season.

He said a series of trial matches, rather than the Nines, was better preparation for the NRL season.

Brian Fletcher

Brian Fletcher Photo: Supplied

"Do we need to be there? The answer is 'no'," Fletcher said.

"I think you simply don't need the Nines.

"What benefit does the Nines have on our season?"

A number of players have missed NRL matches due to injuries sustained at the Nines in previous years.

Newcastle playmaker Jarrod Mullen spent about two months on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring at the 2014 Nines.

Manly lost hooker Jayden Hodges for 2016 after he suffered a knee injury, while back-rower Jamie Buhrer broke his jaw and prop Jake Trbojevic was concussed last year.

This year's competition on February 4-5 will see rugby league stars Jarryd Hayne, Jack Bird and Semi Radradra compete, but a host of other prominent players will sit it out.