James Roberts during the Titans V Warriors Auckland 9s match at Eden Park. Pic by Robb Cox © NRL Photos

Aquis Gold Coast Titans head coach Neil Henry is confident he will field a strong squad for the Auckland Nines and hopefully progress to the quarter-finals in the third annual tournament on February 8-9.

The draw was released in Auckland today by Kiwi supermodel Kylie Bax and the Titans have drawn St George Illawarra, Canberra, Newcastle and Penrith in our pool.

“It’s always a great weekend and the New Zealanders really embrace the tournament and we certainly want to be as competitive as we can,” Henry said.

“I think we can field a strong squad with a lot of pace and youth in our team from maybe the quickest player in the game in James Roberts [pictured at the 2015 Nines] some of our young players.”

The full draw is below but the Titans’ 18-man squad has avoided the home side, NZ Warriors  who are strengthened by the recruitment of Kiwi Test players Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Isaac Luke, and potential heavyweights North Queensland and Brisbane.

The other Queensland teams have drawn what has been referred to as the “pool of death” which includes Manly and Canterbury.

Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga, who also attended the draw, pointed out that the last two NRL Nines champions – South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Queensland Cowboys – had also claimed an NRL premiership over the last two years.

“Early success is important in the NRL and because the Nines is such a team-orientated event it can build confidence in the players and a culture of success for the season ahead,” he said.

“The beauty of our competition is that most teams can win on their day and the Nines is no different.”

THE POOLS:

Pool Hunua

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Manly Sea Eagles

NZ Warriors

Brisbane Broncos

Pool Waiheke

Sydney Roosters

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Parramatta Eels

Melbourne Storm

Pool Rangitoto

Newcastle Knights

North Queensland Cowboys

Penrith Panthers

Wests Tigers

Pool Piha

St George Illawarra Dragons

Canberra Raiders

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Gold Coast Titans

Past champions:

2014: North Queensland Cowboys beat Brisbane Broncos 16-7

2015: South Sydney Rabbitohs beat Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18-14

THE DRAW:

Day 1

Time

Team 1

Team 2

Game 1

12:30pm

Roosters

Rabbitohs

Game 2

12:55pm

Eels

Storm

Game 3

1:20pm

Knights

Cowboys

Game 4

1:45pm

Panthers

Tigers

Game 5

2:20pm

Warriors

Bulldogs

Game 6

2:45pm

Sea Eagles

Broncos

Game 7

3:10pm

Dragons

Raiders

Game 8

3:35pm

Sharks

Titans

W1

 

NZ

Australia

Game 9

4:25pm

Roosters

Eels

Game 10

4:50pm

Rabbitohs

Storm

Game 11

5:15pm

Knights

Panthers

Game 12

5:40pm

Cowboys

Tigers

Game 13

6:15pm

Warriors

Sea Eagles

Game 14

6:40pm

Bulldogs

Broncos

Game 15

7:05pm

Dragons

Sharks

Game 16

7:30pm

Raiders

Titans

 

Day 2

Time

Team 1

Team 2

Game 17

10:35am

Roosters

Storm

Game 18

11:00am

Rabbitohs

Eels

Game 19

11:25am

Knights

Tigers

Game 20

11:50am

Cowboys

Panthers

Game 21

12:15pm

Bulldogs

Sea Eagles

Game 22

12:40pm

Warriors

Broncos

Game 23

1:05pm

Dragons

Titans

Game 24

1:30pm

Raiders

Sharks

Game 25

1:55pm

Quarter Final 1

Game 26

2:20pm

Quarter Final 2

Game 27

3:05pm

Quarter Final 3

Game 28

3:30pm

Quarter Final 4

W2

 

NZ

Australia

Game 29

4:40pm

Winner QF1

Winner QF2

Game 30

5:05pm

Winner QF3

Winner QF4

W3

 

NZ

Australia

Game 31

6:40pm

Tournament Final