Wests Tigers have today announced an 18-man squad for next month’s 2017 NRL Downer Auckland Nines tournament in New Zealand.
Luke Brooks is set to make his first ever NRL Auckland Nines appearance, with the tournament set to take place on February 4 and 5 at Eden Park.
As well as Brooks, Head Coach Jason Taylor has named experienced forwards Elijah Taylor, Joel Edwards, Ava Seumanufagai and Sauaso Sue to bolster the side.
Taylor will captain the side at Eden Park, with Sue to feature as vice-captain.
A host of exciting rookies will also make the trip over to Auckland, with Matt Eisenhuth, Watson Heleta, Esan Marsters and Bayley Sironen looking to impress as they strive for an NRL debut in 2017.
New recruit Matt McIlwrick will pull on the Wests Tigers jersey for the first time, with the dummy-half joining the Club from the Cronulla Sharks.
The 18-man squad features a number players familiar with the nine-a-side concept, with Justin Hunt, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Littlejohn, Kyle Lovett, Michael Chee Kam, Heleta, Seumanufagai and Sue all playing in last year’s tournament with Wests Tigers.
Both Chee Kam and Naiqama have featured in all three previous NRL Auckland Nines tournaments.
Wests Tigers have been drawn in the Rangitoto Pool and will come up against the Newcastle Knights, Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm.
WESTS TIGERS 2017 AUCKLAND NINES SQUAD
Michael Chee Kam (3 – 2014-16)
Joel Edwards (2 – 2014-15)
Watson Heleta* (1 – 2016)
Justin Hunt (1 – 2016)
Jack Littlejohn (2 – 2014, ‘16)
Kyle Lovett (2 – 2015-16)
Matt McIlwrick (1 – 2014)
Kevin Naiqama (3 – 2014-16)
Ava Seumanufagai (2 – 2015-16)
Sauaso Sue (2 – 2015-16)
Elijah Taylor (1 – 2016)
(Number of NRL Auckland Nines tournaments indicated in brackets; * = Yet to play NRL)