The NRL, ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development) and Duco Events yesterday (Thursday) confirmed that the NRL Nines Tournament will be suspended next year to ease the workload of players following the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said the Nines had been one of the game’s success stories over the last four years and had a long term future on the Rugby League calendar.
But he said that with the Rugby League World Cup running until 2 December, it was not viable to ask elite players to back up for the Nines tournament in early 2018.
The same applies for the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game in the pre-season, which will also not be held in 2018 but will return in 2019.
Mr Abdo said there was every chance the NRL Nines would be held in Australia when it returns to the Rugby League calendar and the NRL would seek expressions of interest from cities interested in hosting the event.
He said that Auckland had been a fantastic host of the event and confirmed that there is a strong likelihood that the event will return to New Zealand in the future rotation.
The NRL and Duco Events acknowledged the important role that ATEED had played in the establishment and ongoing success of the event, along with major sponsor Downer and other event partners.