Fans guide to the Nines

The Titans have sent a strong side to Auckland keen to do well and snare a good part of the $2.6 million prize-money in the Auckland Nines this weekend.

The Titans play the home side, Warriors, at 2.45pm local time (11.45am in Qld, 12.45pm in NSW) tomorrow to open our campaign and Wests Tigers at 6.15pm Saturday (3.15pm Qld) and Canberra Raiders at 1.15pm (10.15am Qld).

For those not familiar with the fast and exciting tournament, here is a fans’ guide to some of the rules of the Nines.

·         Each matches is played over two nine-minute halves with a two-minute half-time break.

·         Each team must nominate a team of 14 players per match (from an 18-man squad) with five players on the bench and unlimited interchange, but a maximum of two at any time.

·         The matches are played under a five-tackle rule rather than the six-tackle rule that applies in the NRL.

·         Scrums are only formed if there is a double knock-on, in all other circumstances play will restart with a handover. A maximum of five players per team can form a scrum.

·         Tries will earn the normal four points however tries scored in the ‘bonus zone’ under the goalposts will earn five points.

·         All conversions and penalty kicks at goal are taken by drop-kick and are worth two points. A field goal is worth one point. A shot-clock applies to conversion kicks, with 25 seconds allowed to convert a try (to when the boot connects with the ball).

·         The kick-off to each half is completed by a place kick, but after any other score by drop-kick by the scoring team.

·         The sin bin rule applies with players binned for a maximum of three minutes.

·         A golden-try extra-period is activated if the scores are locked after regulation time. The team that scores the next try is declared the winner. If the score is unchanged after five minutes of extra-time in pool matches, the match will be declared a draw. However, in finals games play will continue until a try is scored.

·         Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw

·         Teams are split into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group progress to the quarter-finals.