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Give me more Nines!

Despite the average attendance and viewers, there is promise for the Nines providing the NRL and IRL continue to support it, and not let it become a fad and die off.

The Club Nines is due for a return for 2020 in Perth, and I think it was strange that we had 4 years of club nines, before being scrapped in 2017 and THEN have a World Cup, but either way it was an enjoyable event for Rugby League fans who will be able to enjoy it again in 2023.

The format does need to be tweaked to avoid it becoming what ended up being a predicable final.

Saturday and Sunday
Hold the event over 2 days, not kick it at 6pm on a Friday kickoff. Great for TV, but doesn’t work for the crowd. 2 full days of fast paced action footy over a Saturday and Sunday will increase crowds. This timeslot doesn’t help people in the bush wanting to travel to watch, they would either have to take a day off work or miss the Friday and only go for the one day, that’s less inciting. Nor does it suit the city folk just knocking off work .

Expand to 16 teams
“It’s too early for expansion”. Maybe, but at least this would allow for 4 pools of 4 teams, top 2 advancing to Quarters/Semis/Final. A fairer competition with a tier 1 country in each pool, unlike the pool setup we just had. We have Scotland, Italy, Jamaica, and Ireland all in the Top 16 IRL Rankings, who have either played in a World Cup, or are ready made for Nines competition (Looking at you Jamaica).

More 9’s Tournaments
Not a World Cup, but maybe a regional one here in Australia. Maybe have State Teams (NSW, QLD, ACT, VIC, WA etc.) play against Country NSW/QLD Teams, Kiwi Residents Team, Indigenous side etc. Local Group competitions in NSW already hold Nines tournaments as pre-season fixtures with great success for Rural areas. This could be held every 4 years in the month leading up to the 9’s World Cup, or every 4 years between World Cups. More footy the better!!!

Don’t select Test Stars
As good as Addo-Carr and Cherry-Evans were, if they weren’t selected with Test duties we still had Moses, Fifita, Campbell Graham, and Papenhuyzen to name a few. Honestly Australia could field an Australian A side that would compete in most tests, and would light up a Nines tourney. The tournament also had excitement from other countries with Maarbani, Robinson, Grace, and Marcon showing us as good as the big names are for marketing, we can unearth some superstars elsewhere.

Overall I just want more footy. Give me Nines 4/5 months between NRL seasons and I’ll watch it. And if we have it enough more people will come to our game overall.

And that can’t be a bad thing.

(Picture – Brett Hemmings)



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