NRL superstars set to play in 2015 NRL Nines

JAMES MACSMITH
Last updated 11:40 17/02/2014
Greg Inglis
Getty Images
BIG GUNS: Rugby league's biggest names, including Greg Inglis, are set to commit to next year's NRL Nines.

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Rugby league's biggest names, including Greg Inglis, are set to commit to next year's NRL Nines after the stunning success of the inaugural event.

Due to the late season finish of last year's World Cup a number of NRL superstars were rested from this year's Auckland tournament.

But players will have plenty more time to rest up at the end of this season before next year's edition.

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire said Inglis and Issac Luke were among two of his players he had to hold back from playing in the two-day event at Eden Park.

"The pre-season was very short this year and that is why we held some players back but the likes of Greg Inglis and Issac Luke, they were busting to play," Maguire said.

"They are big fans of the concept but after a big finish to last year and what we have in front of us you have to consider that.

"Issac was asking to play every day and this type of game would really suit him, but he had a massive year last year and we had to consider that.

"The event comes at a good time in the pre-season, it is a variation of what you focus on.

"Pre-seasons are obviously always tough but the Nines breaks that up. It is an opportunity to get match fitness and is a good way to start the year."

North Queensland Nines captain Gavin Cooper said the Cowboys superstar playmaker Johnathan Thurston was sitting on the edge of his couch back home in Townsville as the club won the tournament, dying to be part of the action.

"He was sending regular texts," Cooper said.

"I think he will want to be part of it next year."

Tournament organisers might even force clubs to bring more of their stars - this year each club was required to bring one of its top five salary cap players, next year that could be upgraded to two or three as the NRL looks to grow the tournament.

The inclusion of English Super League clubs has become a real possibility too.

After losing the final, Brisbane captain Corey Parker was convinced every NRL player would want to be a part of the Nines in 2015.

"There are guys at home watching this, watching the footy going on, who will want to be a part of it, I know I certainly do," he said.

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