Check out our comprehensive guide to the 2017 Auckland Nines Rangitoto Pool.

KNIGHTS SQUAD:
Peter Mata’utia, Ken Sio, Brendan Elliot, Nathan Ross, Cory Denniss, Brock Lamb, Jaelen Feeney, Daniel Saifiti, Danny Levi, Jacob Saifiti, Mitch Barnett, Jamie Buhrer (c), Luke Yates, Tyler Randell, Jack Stockwell, Sam Stone, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Nick Meaney, Sione Mata’utia (Emergency player).

Verdict
There’s plenty of pace and youth in this Knights side, with the likes of Ken Sio, Nathan Ross, Cory Denniss and Nick Meaney all capable of leaving defenders in their dust.
Six players will be making their Nines debuts, and on the flip side nine players considered regular first graders last year will also be travelling.

Who to keep an eye on
Nick Meaney and Sam Stone have nearly completed their first NRL pre-seasons, and have impressed coaching staff with how much they have improved.
Another rookie in Brock Lamb will be aiming to nail down a regular starting spot in the NRL this season and so will want to have a big Nines tournament.

Danger man
Nathan Ross’ full throttle approach means he is a perfect fit for the Nines format, with his raw pace and agility out wide sure to trouble opposition teams.

 

BRONCOS SQUAD:
Alex Barr, Adam Blair, Darius Boyd, Gerome Burns, Mitch Cronin, Matt Gillett, Jordan Kahu, Sam Lavea, Matiu Love-Henry, Benji Marshall, Andrew McCullough, Anthony Milford, Francis Molo, Corey Oates, Jonus Pearson, James Roberts, Gehamat Shibasaki, Jaydn Su’A.

Verdict
While the Broncos haven’t had a huge amount of success at this tournament since finishing as runners up in the inaugural year, this year the club is taking plenty of big names.
The Broncos have named eight of the players that took part in their 2016 finals loss against the Cowboys, as well as big new recruit Benji Marshall.

Who to keep an eye on
Plenty of people north of the border are getting excited by youth prospect Gehamat Shibasaki, a left centre that has played for the Australian Schoolboys and Queensland’s Under 18s Origin side.
He will be looking to impress at his first Nines tournament.

Danger man
Anthony Milford is another player that has a skillset perfect for the Nines.
With plenty of pace and dazzling footwork that always keeps defenders wondering, the Knights will have to keep an eye on him.

 

STORM SQUAD:
Young Tonumaipea (c), Josh Addo-Carr, Curtis Scott, Cheyse Blair, Linc Port, Cameron Munster, Brodie Croft, Mark Nicholls, Slade Griffin, Tim Glasby, Joe Stimson, Felise Kaufusi, Kenny Bromwich (c), Scott Drinkwater, Ryley Jacks, Jake Turpin, Dean Britt, Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Verdict
The Melbourne outfit has taken the opposite approach to the Broncos when it comes to team selection, with only four players from last year’s grand final team making the trip over the ditch.
Like the Knights, the Storm has named several NYC players in their squad that will be hopeful of making a big impression.

Who to keep an eye on
Only 21-years-old, Josh Addo-Carr is still an NRL rookie that had a big Nines tournament last year.
His blistering pace will do plenty of damage if he’s given too much space out on the touch line.

Danger man
Cameron Munster is the biggest name in Melbourne’s Nines squad, and his playmaking abilities can’t be underestimated.

The Queenslander has reportedly made a switch from fullback to five-eighth this pre-season, and will be looking to take on a leadership role at the tournament.   
 

TIGERS SQUAD
Elijah Taylor (c), Josh Aloiai, Luke Brooks, Michael Chee Kam, Joel Edwards, Matt Eisenhuth, JJ Felise, Watson Heleta, Justin Hunt, Jack Littlejohn, Kyle Lovett, Esan Marsters, Matt McIlwrick, Kevin Naiqama, Jordan Rankin, Ava Seumanufagai, Bayley Sironen, Sauaso Sue.

Verdict
The Tigers are travelling to Auckland having named a relatively strong squad, with eight regular first graders from last year making the trip.

Who to keep an eye on
Luke Brooks is probably the biggest name to make the Tigers squad, and his playmaking abilities should keep the side ticking over nicely when he’s out on the field.
Also pretty fast across the turf, he will be ready to take advantage of any lapses in defence.

Danger man
One of the only players out there that has featured in every Auckland Nines competition to date, Kevin Naiqama’s sheer athleticism makes him a difficult prospect for defenders.

RULES YOU NEED TO KNOW
There are several rule changes for the Auckland Nines in order to make it a faster contest with fewer stoppages.

The most important are:
. When a team gains possession from a mistake they have one free play to make a high-risk move. If they lose the ball in that play, they retain possession from where the original error took place.

. Scrums only occur following a double knock-on or mutual infringement. Everything else results in a handover.

. Tries scored in the ‘Bonus Zone’ behind the goalposts are worth five points rather than four. Conversions are taken with a dropkick instead of from a tee.

. Conversions must be attempted within 25 seconds, or else no points will be awarded.

. Sin bins last for three minutes rather than ten.

. Possession is handed over after five tackles rather than six.

. If scores are equal after full time, the teams swap ends and the side that scores the next try wins. In pool matches, if no try has been scored after five minutes the game finishes as a draw. In knock-out game, play continues until someone has scored.