St George Illawarra Dragons centre Euan Aitken has been named in the team to take part in the NRL Auckland Nines competition taking place at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday, February 6-Sunday, February 7.
The two-time Junior Kangaroo representative is aware of the intensity and speed required to take part in the two-day tournament and is keen to help the team go all the way.
“It was a good experience taking part in the tournament last year and I’m looking to build off of that this time around,” said Aitken.
“I expect Head Coach Paul McGregor to name a strong squad this season with the goal of hopefully making it at least out of the group stage.
“The intensity of the games are quite fast and the nine minute halves go really quickly so you need to adjust and make your plays as fast as you can while making sure to hold the ball.”
The Dragons have been included in the Piha Pool alongside the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Gold Coast Titans and Canberra Raiders in the two-day tournament to be staged on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7.
All 16 NRL teams will enter the tournament which carries prize money of more than $AU2.4 million.
The teams, which have nine players, are split into the four pools and play nine minute halves.
The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage of the tournament before the two top teams play in the final.
The full squads for the pre-season fixtures are yet to be finalised but all players, provided they are fit, will either be competing against the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls at Redlands or taking part in the NRL Auckland Nines as both events are on the same weekend.
Each day the Dragons will reveal an additional member of the travelling squads for either the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls or NRL Auckland Nines team, alternating the teams, via dragons.com.au and our respective social media channels.
Wynnum-Manly Seagulls Squad:
Gareth Widdop (c)
NRL Nines Squad:
Jack de Belin