Titans Head Coach Neil Henry says he is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the defending NRL premiers the Sharks, the Bulldogs and Panthers at the 2017 Auckland Nines.
The draw was announced this morning and placed the Titans in the Waiheke Pool alongside the Sharks, who the lost 23-12 to before bouncing back with wins against the Raiders (26-15) and Dragons (24-12), a quareter-final win over the Sea Eagles (24-12) before exiting to the Warriors in the semi-finals.
The surprise result of the 2016 Nines tournament, along with the addition of Jarryd Hayne, Kane Elgey and a few other youngsters to compliment the likes of Ash Taylor and Agnatius Paasi who was one of the Nines'best this year means Henry is confident his side can go well again in 2017.
"It's anyone's really, knowing how teams are going to play," Henry said.
"I know the players want to make the squad to get over there, it is pretty exciting.
"With the Bulldogs with the Panthers and Sharks that's a good pool but it really doesn't matter who we're playing."
Henry says a number of players are already trying to force their way onto the Nines roster at pre-season training.
"Some of our young guys have put their hand up and said that is a goal that they want to make that squad.
Henry says Jarryd Hayne will be in the Titans squad if he's fit.
"It will be a mixture of some of our young guys and Jarryd is keen to play, being an ambassador with JT and Shaun Johnson, which is great for the game.
"If Jarryd is fit and right to go he will be there, and I think he will look forward to playing a game where he has a bit more space to play footy."
Henry says next year's tournament is already shaping up to be a strong contest
"I thoguht Cronulla had a good side this year, then Parramatta came through and the Warriors are always the favourites in front of a home crowd."