2020 NRL Perth Nines Predictions & Tips

Dave Kuzio:

The NRL Nines tournament returns after a three year absence with Perth hosting the 2020 edition. Our Rugby League expert takes a look at the competition and the favourites to win it.

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The NRL Nines was founded in 2014 with the first tournament taking place at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. The 2014 event was a huge success with North Queensland Cowboys winning the first one after beating Brisbane Broncos in the Final.

The next three years saw the tournament continue in Auckland with South Sydney Rabbitohs winning the Final in extra-time against Cronulla Sharks in 2015. Parramatta Eels defeated New Zealand Warriors in 2016 only to have the title stripped off them for a breach of the salary cap. The final tournament saw Sydney Roosters win it for the first time when they beat Penrith Panthers.

The Nines tournament returns in 2020, but this time it will be staged at the Perth Oval (HBF Park) in Perth. All 16 NRL teams will be represented with a mixture of first-team players, youngsters and the odd legend.

The tournament is held over two days on February 14 and 15 with a prize total of $1 million (Aus) on offer, while there will be an extra $1 million on offer if a team wins both the Perth Nines and the NRL Grand Final in 2020.

There is a women’s competition as well with Brisbane Broncos, St George Illawarra Dragons, New Zealand Warriors and Sydney Roosters all taking part.

Men’s Tournament:

The men’s tournament is split into four pools with four teams competing in each. The two top teams will qualify for the quarter-finals with a normal knockout competition taking place to see who will perform in the Final.

Pool 1

Penrith Panthers

New Zealand Warriors

Sydney Roosters

Newcastle Knights

Pool 2

Canterbury Bulldogs

St George Illawarra

Parramatta Eels

Cronulla Sharks

Pool 3

Canberra Raiders

Wests Tigers

Gold Coast Titans

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Pool 4

North Queensland Cowboys

Melbourne Storm

Brisbane Broncos

Manly Sea Eagles

Women’s Tournament:

The four teams will play against each other once with the top two teams then going up against each other in the Final.

Women’s Pool

St George Illawarra

Sydney Roosters

Brisbane Broncos

New Zealand Warriors

NRL Perth Nines Predictions & Tips

Anthing can happen in a nines tournament. The pitch is still full-length, but each team are short four players. Bonus point tries are scored under the posts, while conversions have to be taken like a field goal. Each half is nine minutes long.

NRL Perth Nines Tips – Perth Nines Winner: Brisbane Broncos @ 11/2 William Hill

The Broncos featured in the first ever NRL Nines Final as they went down 16-7 to Queensland rivals North Queensland Cowboys at Eden Park. They have not reached the Final since, but this year they have a strong looking squad. They have opted to leave out the likes of Alex Glenn and Xavier Coates, but there are places for Kotoni Staggs and teenager Brendan Piakura. The Broncos legend coming out of retirement is Corey Parker. He might not be able to go full length any more, but his experience will be a massive plus for Brisbane. One player to definitely look out for is Tesi Niu. The 18-year-old is part of the Broncos development squad and was part of the Tonga Test team that beat Great Britain last year. He has electric pace- something you need in the Nines – and he will love playing on such an open field where he can stretch his legs.

NRL Perth Nines Tips – Bold Prediction: St George Illawarra Dragons @ 25/1 William Hill

St George Illawarra are not the force they once were – that much is obvious. Although a nice shiny and trophy and money is up for grabs, this tournament is seen as fun and a way to get players fit and healthy and to see what kind of talent is coming through the ranks. For that reason, the Dragons cannot be written off. They will have experience in the likes of Cameron McInnes, Tim Lafai, Ben Hunt, Tyson Frizell, Korbin Sims and Euan Aitken. Young talent coming through includes Mikaele Ravalawa, Jayden Sullivan, Matt Dufty and Tristan Sailor – sone of league legend Wendell. Dragons legend Jason Nightingale will also make an appearance. St George are taking this one serious and anything can happen during those nine minute halves.

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