Benji Marshall of the Dragons in action during Day 1 of the NRL Auckland Nines Rugby League Tournament, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 31 January 2015. Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.co.nz

By Greg Prichard

St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Benji Marshall in space is always a beautiful sight and the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines in February would provide the perfect opportunity for the star to cut loose at the start of next season.

Tickets for the most thrilling event in rugby league can be purchased through the NRL on www.nrl.com/tickets.

Marshall captained the side in this year's event and Fox Sports commentator Greg Alexander, who covered the first two Nines tournaments for the network, says the Kiwi star continues to be a major threat to any opposition defence.

"Clever players are always a threat in the Nines, because if they can pull apart a defence in the 13-man game you're even more dangerous with four less players out there to try to stop you," Alexander says.

"If the Dragons have Marshall and Gareth Widdop out there calling the shots for them, they will be very dangerous.

"Benji learned and practised a lot of his stuff growing up playing touch football. That's obviously different as an overall concept to Nines, but it is reduced numbers and a bit more space so there are similarities.

"Marshall has already started sizing up the defence before he gets the ball, so if he sees something is on you have to react very quickly in defence to have any chance of preventing him from turning it into something.

"He's got plenty of options to pick from in his bag of tricks and he usually knows the right one to choose."

The 2016 event will be held at Eden Park in Auckland on 6-7 February and tickets to "The Greatest Weekend" are now available at prices ranging from just $NZD69 (approx. $AUD61) for a two-day pass.

Tickets for children are available at half the adult price in most categories.

The biggest stars in the NRL, representing all 16 clubs, will again be playing in the event - including superstars Billy Slater and Shaun Johnson, who have each nominated the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines as their comeback date from major injuries that ended their 2015 NRL seasons early.

It is going to be a great opportunity for league fans to see the best players in the game exercising their super skills on an open field.

There is nothing like this tournament for excitement, with NRL teams facing up against NRL teams in quick succession over one action-packed weekend leading up to the final prize.

The fans will also be able to get up close and personal and watch teams go through their warm-ups for games on the number one field.

There will be a whopping $NZ2.6 million in prizemoney up for grabs at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines. Don't miss it. This is your chance to see the greatest rugby league players in the world really turning it on for the fans.

BOOK NOW:

www.nrl.com/tickets

TRAVEL PACKAGES ALSO ON-SALE:

3 x night packages incl airfares, transfers, accomm and 2 x day ticket from $1,399 pp

4 x night packages incl airfares, transfers, accomm and 2 x day ticket $1,464 pp

5 x night packages incl airfares, transfers, accomm and 2 x day ticket from $1,554 pp

Quote your club DRAGONS when you book your travel package:

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