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Menzies joins Fittler in NRL comeback

By AAP .
11 February 2014 01:46AM EST

MANLY legend Steve Menzies will join Sydney Roosters great Brad Fittler in a return to rugby league at this weekend's NRL Auckland Nines.

The involvement of Fittler, 42, in the Eden Park event was confirmed by the NRL last month and Menzies, 40, will be unveiled as part of the Sea Eagles' 16-man squad at a promotion on Tuesday.

But fears the short-form tournament will be a haven for returning veterans and lesser-name NRL players have been allayed with the majority of teams naming strong sides for the inaugural event.

Kangaroos prop Andrew Fifita was added to a Cronulla roster containing captain Paul Gallen, Todd Carney and Wade Graham on Monday, after initially being ruled out due to eye surgery.

Captain Robbie Farah will spearhead the Wests Tigers' Nines campaign with Aaron Woods, Curtis Sironen, David Nofoaluma, Pat Richards, Adam Blair, Marika Koroibete and young gun Mitchell Moses also among those named.

One of the few props likely to play in the tournament, Woods said he didn't know what to expect.

"I'm looking forward to it but not quite sure what will happen," he said.

"I'll just be looking to hold up the middle and stop the little blokes from darting their way through.

"It's going to be a challenge but it is also going to be a lot of fun."

Australian winger Brett Morris was named in St George Illawarra's line-up alongside NSW stars Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin and Kiwi representative Jason Nightingale.

Morris said he was humbled to be named skipper in the absence of Ben Creagh, whose wife recently gave birth.

"It's really exciting. This is a club I'm proud to play for and it's a huge honour to be made captain," Morris told the Dragons' website.

"It's going to be a great tournament. It's a whole new concept and there will be a whole new set of tactics.

"There will be a bit more space out there which should give us smaller blokes a chance to show what we can do with the ball.

"Hopefully the fans will love it."

However, none of Melbourne's big three of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater will play.

The World Cup-winning Kangaroo trio were all left out of coach Craig Bellamy's squad.

NSW back-rower Ryan Hoffman will captain the Storm side, with stars Will Chambers, Justin O'Neill, Kevin Proctor, Jesse Bromwich (emergency 17th man) also included alongside Canterbury recruit Joel Romelo.

Winger Matt Duffie has been included after a successful comeback from knee and shoulder injury in the under-strength Storm's 20-12 loss to Canberra on Saturday.

Tohu Harris will play his first official game since being bumped out of New Zealand's World Cup squad by Sonny Bill Williams.

The Nines take place at Eden Park on Saturday and Sunday.

The World Cup winning Kangaroos trio were all left out of coach Craig Bellamy's 16-man squad announced Monday for the inaugural event.

NSW back-rower Ryan Hoffman will captain the side, with stars Will Chambers, Justin O'Neill, Kevin Proctor, Jesse Bromwich (emergency 17th man) also included alongside Canterbury recruit Joel Romelo.

Winger Matt Duffie has been included after a successful comeback from knee and shoulder injury in the under-strength Storm's 20-12 loss to Canberra on Saturday.

Tohu Harris will play his first official game since being bumped out of New Zealand's World Cup squad by Sonny Bill Williams.

The Nines takes place at Eden Park on Saturday and Sunday.

RULES FOR THE NRL AUCKLAND NINES TO BE HELD AT EDEN PARK ON FEBRUARY 15 AND 16:

* Nine-minute halves with a two-minute halftime
* Nine players a side with six unlimited interchange players
* Five tackles in a set
* Five points for a try scored in the bonus zone under the posts, with two-point drop kick conversion
* Five-minute golden try period in qualifying rounds; unlimited golden try in finals
* No video referee, with one on-field referee
* Scrums will only form after a double knock on, with attacking teams to elect which side to feed
* The scoring team will have a drop kick off to restart play
* A tap restart will take place after a 40/20 kick
* Five-minute sin bins

SCHEDULE FOR THE NRL AUCKLAND NINES AT EDEN PARK ON FEBRUARY 15 AND 16 (ALL TIMES AEDT):

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15
* Game 1. Sharks v Knights - 10.35am
* Game 2. Wests Tigers v Titans - 11am
* Game 3. Roosters v Eels - 11.25am
* Game 4. Broncos v Bulldogs - 11.50am
* Game 5. Warriors v Raiders - 12.25pm
* Game 6. Sea Eagles v Cowboys - 12.50pm
* Game 7. Storm v Panthers - 1.15pm
* Game 8. Rabbitohs v Dragons - 1.40pm
* Game 9. Sharks v Wests Tigers - 2.20pm
* Game 10. Knights v Titans - 2.45pm
* Game 11. Roosters v Broncos - 3.10pm
* Game 12. Eels v Bulldogs - 3.35pm
* Game 13. Warriors v Sea Eagles - 4.10pm
* Game 14. Raiders v Cowboys - 4.35pm
* Game 15. Storm v Rabbitohs - 5pm
* Game 16. Panthers v Dragons - 5.25pm

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16
* Game 17. Sharks v Titans - 10am
* Game 18. Knights v Wests Tigers - 10.25am
* Game 19. Roosters v Bulldogs - 10.50am
* Game 20. Eels v Broncos - 11.15am
* Game 21. Warriors v Cowboys - 11.45am
* Game 22. Raiders v Sea Eagles - 12.10pm
* Game 23. Storm v Dragons - 12.35pm
* Game 24. Panthers v Rabbitohs - 1pm

FINALS
* 1st Quarter-Final - 1.30pm
* 2nd Quarter-Final - 1.55pm
* 3rd Quarter-Final - 2.20pm
* 4th Quarter-Final - 2.45pm
* 1st Semi-Final - 3.45pm
* 2nd Semi-Final - 4.10pm
* Final - 5.30pm

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