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Five reasons to watch the NRL Nines

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FIVE REASONS TO WATCH THE NRL NINES

COMPETITION FOR NRL SPOTS

Players on the fringe of first grade or fighting for spots will get the chance to show off their creativity in the Nines format.

While traditional positions are impossible to adhere to, playmakers tend to shine with the freedom and space on the field.

Knights halves hopefuls Kurt Mann and Mason Lino will want to state their case to new coach Adam O'Brien.

It'll also be our first look at Panthers halves Nathan Cleary and Jerome Luai for 2020, while Wests Tigers fullback Corey Thompson can remind coach Michael Maguire why he's a solid No.1 option ahead of new recruit Adam Douehi.

NEW TALENT DISCOVERED

Being the vibrant style of rugby league that it is, the NRL Nines has turned out some breakthrough stars across the past four tournaments in Auckland.

Latrell Mitchell, Connor Watson and Semi Radradra all lit up the field in the nine-a-side competition and backed up that success in the NRL in the seasons to follow.

The unpredictable and exciting nature of the games brings out the best in some, and there's no doubt there's more talent to be unearthed in 2020.

CROSS CODE DEBUT

The Roosters' top squad is in England preparing for the World Club Challenge, but they added one surprise to make up for it - retired Sydney Swans legend Nick Davis.

The 39-year-old AFL premiership hero will become the first player to make the cross-code switch to league, most likely on the wing.

Kicking and catching should be no issue, but passing and tackling could be another story if muscle memory comes into play.

BIG WIN, BIG SEASON

Parramatta, Roosters, North Queensland and South Sydney have all won a Nines tournament, and although it's hardly a premiership, it's a trophy in the cabinet and an indication of the quality of the squad.

All except the Eels won NRL premierships around the same time they won the Nines tournament - they were later stripped of the title as sanction for salary cap breaches.

The Roosters were the last club to claim the title in 2017.

DO THE LEGENDS STILL HAVE IT?

Back in 2014, Roosters legend Brad Fittler pulled off the sort of move he made famous in his playing days - a decade after he retired.

Added into the Nines squad, he stole an intercept pass against the Broncos and raced 70 metres to score a bonus zone try under the goal posts, thrilling the crowd in Auckland.

Inspired by Fittler, Pat Richards (Wests Tigers), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), Jason Nightingale (Dragons), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Michael Gordon (Titans) and Corey Parker (Broncos) will return to the field in Perth.

© AAP 2020