Punters Getting Ready for 2017 Auckland Nines
New Zealand rugby league fans are still smarting over the result of last year’s Auckland Nines tournament. Auckland’s New Zealand Warriors, the only local team in the NRL, triumphed over 14 Australian teams to finish runners-up against the Parramatta Eels in the final. But when the Eels had their title stripped for a salary-cap violation, the NRL decided to withhold the 2016 title, rather than award it to the Warriors.
Mind you, they had lost the final 22-4, so Kiwi fans can’t feel too aggrieved. It’s time for sports betting fans to put that behind them, because the 2017 Auckland Nines is almost upon us, for the fourth time since 2014. The weekend of February 4-5 will see Eden Park once again host the fast-paced contest between all 16 NRL teams, in rugby league’s answer to rugby union’s Sevens tournaments.
The good news, for New Zealand NRL supporters, is that the Warriors are the favourites to take the 2017 title, with bookies offering $4.50 on them. If they pull it off, it will be the first time they win the Auckland Nines. The trophy went to the North Queensland Cowboys in the inaugural tournament, and to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2015.
Other Contenders within the Pools
The Warriors’ biggest threat within the Piha Pool is their 2016 nemesis, the Parramatta Eels, currently offered at $9.00. The two remaining teams in Piha, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the St George Illawarra Dragons, don’t look like a serious threat. Both have current odds of $21.00.
Two teams that look like they may be able to thwart the Warriors are 2014 champions the Cowboys, currently at $8.00, and the Gold Coast Titans, who are the joint third-favourites with the Eels at $9.00. The Titans are in the Waiheke Pool, where only the Penrith Panthers, at $11.00, are seen as any kind of threat. Likewise, only the Rabbitohs, at $13.00, look like they might trouble the Cowboys in the Hunua Pool, and the West’s Tigers, at the same odds, are the only team vaguely rated in the Rangitoto Pool.
Fans of women’s rugby league will also be looked after in the 2017 Auckland Nines. For the third year in succession, the Kiwi Ferns will take on the Australian Jillaroos, hoping to complete a hat-trick of victories for the New Zealand women’s side.
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