On the eve of the Auckland Nines, Jarrod Mullen says the Newcastle Knights are confident and ready for the challenge and excitement of the tournament, now in its second year.
The Knights Nines skipper, who returns to Auckland after playing in the inaugural competition expects high quality, high action games now players have more experience of the nine a side concept.
“Everyone was new to it last year and were running around and sort of not knowing what to do, then we picked up the concept of it up,” he said.
Mullen also expects the side’s young talent like Sione Mata’utia, Jake Mamo and Joseph Tapine to shine during the two day competition.
“It’s a bit of exposure for the younger kids coming through,” he said.
“But every team has a few young blokes in there, so there is the bit of the unknown.
One of things sure to bouy the team is the atmosphere and energy of the crowd, expected to exceed 40,000 at Auckland’s Eden Park.
After arriving in Auckland on Thursday evening, the Knights spent a first full day in Auckland on Friday which included a training session at Auckland Grammar School and the official public launch of the tournament where they met hundreds of fans at Auckland’s Aotea Square.
“It was good to see the New Zealand public, it was definitely a successful comp last year so hopefully we can build on it this year,” he said.
“Last year, it was great atmosphere.
Mullen is confident in the team’s ability and flair and expects the Knights to be a top contender.
“I think we played well last year, no one really gave us a chance and we made it to the quarter finals," he said.
“We are in with a good shot."