The 2015 NRL Dick Smith Auckland Nines kicks off tomorrow and Head Coach Brad Arthur is looking forward to seeing the Blue in Gold in action in the two day extravaganza.
The Eels will feature in the Rangitoto Pool, along with Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Newcastle Knights and the St George-Illawarra Dragons.
“I am excited and I am excited to see the different style of footy they can play and also very excited to see how a few of our young boys aim up with a bit of extra space,” said Brad Arthur.
With the Nines the first official appearance for the Blue and Gold in 2015, Arthur has not made too many drastic changes to pre-season training in preparation for the event.
“We have done a little bit of extra conditioning games, which is a good way to get a bit of extra fitness into them with a bit of fun but you need a lot of luck in this and it’s very hard to plan for” said Arthur.
With Hopoate withdrawn from the Eels side, Arthur was confident with Bureta Faraimo joining the squad and had been impressed with the 24 year old’s work ethic at training.
“We always had Bureta on stand by and to his credit, he didn’t dropped his bundles or spit the dummy. He kept training hard and that’s footy,” Arthur said of Faraimo.
“Because he has stayed positive, he has come into the squad and he’s a powerhouse with the ball so we will be looking to give him some early ball and see how he goes” he said.
The Eels will be the opening clash of the tournament against the Sea Eagles at 12:30pm (10:30am AEDT) and Arthur knows that anything can happen.
“Anything can happen. We will be used as guinea pigs for the other teams but at least we have had a bit of experience with it last year,” Arthur said.
“We are looking forward to seeing some open style of football being played” he added.