Rabbitohs hooker, Cameron McInnes, will play in his third Auckland Nines tournament this weekend after yesterday being named in Michael Maguire’s 18 man squad to travel to New Zealand.
The Souths Junior will play as part of a balanced Rabbitohs outfit that includes its fair share of youth, experience, size, and speed.
For McInnes, the chance to return to Eden Park for the pre-season tournament is a much appreciated reward for his pre-season training efforts.
“I’m excited – I just can’t wait to play footy finally,” said the hooker.
“It’s been a long couple of months training away, so it’s great to have been selected and to get the chance to head over there to get the job done.
“The Nines are a great opportunity for us to test ourselves – to have fun as well of course – but we also have a job to do. It’s what we train for so we can’t wait.”
As one of a few players to have played in two Nines tournaments to date, McInnes described the most noticeable difference between playing the reduced format game and 13 a side to Rabbitohs.com.au.
“With less players on the field, there’s obviously a bit more running around from all of us,” said McInnes.
“You’re constantly working to close gaps and chase people down, so in that sense the competition really highlights how important communication and teamwork is – that’s what we’re all about in this team.”
But it’s not just the footy that McInnes and his teammates are looking forward to. The sight of thousands of red and green jerseys and flags in the Eden Park crowd in recent years hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players.
“In the Final last year, it felt like it was a home game for us,” smiled the Botany Rams product.
“We love going and playing in New Zealand and part of that is because we have such great support over there.
“You walk the streets during the tournament and there’s always red and green there, and once you get into Eden Park, there’s plenty more in there as well.
“We can’t wait to see what Auckland has in store for us again this year.”