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Auckland Nines: Injuries headline lacklustre pre-season comp

2017 NRL Auckland Nines

THE Sydney Roosters may have won their maiden Auckland Nines title on Sunday, but the main talking points out of New Zealand was injuries to key players and the disengagement from fans.

The Roosters took out their first ever Auckland Nines title, but failed to make a dent in the NRL premiership market, remaining steady on the eighth line of betting at the $13 quote at Sportsbet.com.au.

It was the injuries to the big names that was the main talking point out of the tournament however, as two of the game’s best players went down.

The Brisbane Broncos could be without playmaker Benji Marshall for the start of the season after the veteran injured his achilles, which was declared as ‘minor’ by the club, while superstar Titan Jarryd Hayne’s knee injury is yet to be diagnosed, but the former Dally M medallist is in doubt for the All-Stars game.

As a result both teams have taken a tumble in the premiership market.

The Brisbane Broncos were one of the main elects in the frame, but have since gone out to double figures ($10 at Sportsbet.com.au) while the Titans – who will rely heavily on Hayne’s influence in 2017 – are out to $17.

Thurston believes NRL should move Nines final

North Queensland Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston has launched a scathing attack on the New Zealand crowds after less than half the stadium’s capacity showed up to watch the Auckland Nines final.

Thurston, who was a paid ambassador for the event said that while the pre-season tournament is a fantastic league initiative, growth of the game should take precedence if crowds are not going to pack out the venues.

“It’s a great way to kick off the year, playing in the Nines,” Thurston told Fox Sports after his Cowboys were eliminated from the tournament.

“(But) I’m pretty disappointed at the turn-out of the crowd. If that’s the type of crowd that’s going to show up I reckon we should be taking it elsewhere.”

Thurston said taking the game to a nation that does not field an NRL side would be an ideal course of action if the administrators are serious about generating interest in the competition.

“Maybe even Asia, get over there for a week and try and grow the game. You can see it’s a great spectacle and if it’s going get a turnout like this then let’s take it elsewhere.”

NRL Premiership Market

All odds provided by Crownbet.com.au

Melbourne Storm $8

North Queensland Cowboys $8

Penrith Panthers $8

Brisbane Broncos $9

Canberra Raiders $9

New Zealand Warriors $11

Cronulla Sharks $12

Sydney Roosters $12

Canterbury Bulldogs $17

Gold Coast Titans $17

Parramatta Eels $17

South Sydney Rabbitohs $17

Manly Sea Eagles $21

Wests Tigers $29

St. George Illawarra Dragons $101

Newcastle Knights $251

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