Media release issued by ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) on Wednesday February 3:
Meet League Heroes in Aotea Square on Friday
Rugby league fans have the chance to welcome more than 288 NRL players to Aotea Square on Friday, at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines Fan Day, in an event packed with free fan-friendly, family-friendly activities.
The NRL Auckland Nines Fan Day takes place the day before the Downer NRL Auckland Nines tournament kicks off at Eden Park.
Rugby league will take over Aotea Square from 10am to 4pm with a host of activities where fans can meet the NRL stars, including signing sessions and selfies. There will be onstage interviews with NRL Nines team captains, and an NRL members’ lounge with exclusive access for members of all NRL clubs who have travelled to Auckland for the Nines.
There will also be spot prizes and opportunities to buy your favourite NRL team merchandise, to have ready for player autographs.
Team arrivals are staggered through the Fan Day, kicking off with the North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at 10am, through to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Parramatta Eels and Vodafone Warriors, with special guests the Kiwi Ferns, at 3pm. [Full arrival schedule listed below.]
Rugby league legend Mal Meninga says events like the Fan Day and the Club Programme are important to the players.
“Whatever form of sport you play, you have to be in touch with the fans, with the community, with the kids who play the sport. Fan days are about the people who make the sport happen – they buy the tickets, put their bums on seats, bring the sport to life. It’s important to stay in touch with the fans.”
The Downer NRL Auckland Nines Fan Day will follow on from the Club Programme, on Thursday 4 February, when 16 local Auckland rugby league clubs will host visits from the 16 NRL teams. The club events are open and free to the public.
The local clubs are throughout the Auckland region, from the Hibiscus Coast Raiders and Ranui’s Waitemata Seagulls, to the Papakura Sea Eagles and Otara Scorpions. The 16 chosen clubs will also receive a $2000 equipment package.
An additional local club, Manukau Magpies, will host NSWRL and QRL players in conjunction with the Club Programme and the annual State of Origin NRL Auckland Nines membership visit.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the Downer NRL Auckland Nines Fan Day and Club Programme are chances to give a warm Auckland welcome to the NRL players here for the tournament.
“This is the week for league fans. The NRL Auckland Nines is a home-grown event that provides a unique opportunity for supporters to see all 16 NRL teams in over one weekend. And whether you’re new to the game or a die-hard fan, the atmosphere is unrivalled.”
Duco Events Chief Executive Martin Snedden says part of the ongoing success of the NRL Auckland Nines is the excitement in the lead-up to the tournament.
“Auckland really turns it on for the NRL Auckland Nines. Events like the Fan Day create a buzz in the city, and New Zealand and overseas fans get to meet their rugby league heroes – along with some of the exciting new players who will emerge as key playmakers over the weekend.”
Downer NRL Auckland Nines Fan Day team arrivals
10am – 11am:
North Queensland Cowboys
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
11am – 12pm
St George Illawarra Dragons
12pm – 1pm
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1pm – 2pm:
Special guests XXXX Queensland Maroons
Special guests VB New South Wales Blues
2pm – 3pm
Gold Coast Titans
3pm – 4pm:
Special guests Kiwi Ferns
Find out more at aucklandnz.com/nines