Days numbered for Auckland Nines?

The Eels celebrate after winning 2016 NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park
The Eels celebrate after winning 2016 NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park Phil Walter

RUGBY LEAGUE: NRL boss Todd Greenberg has flagged the prospect its Nines competition could be on the move.

While all but guaranteeing Auckland would see out its contract and remain host next year, he admitted it could be headed elsewhere in 2019.

Auckland is preparing to host the fourth instalment of the pre-season tournament this weekend at Eden Park.

"Two things I'll say. One is we have a five-year contract here and we plan to honour that. The second thing I'd say is that Nines has a massive future inside rugby league,” he said.

"Where we decide to play those games and when we decide those games are all things that are being considered right now, but Nines has a future.

"It has a future at the elite level, and it certainly has a future at the participation and grassroots level. We plan to grow it as best we can.”

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg speaks to the media
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg speaks to the media Mark Kolbe

Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney have already put up their hands to snatch hosting rights away from Auckland.

Over $2.25 million prize money at stake at the Nines. The winning team pockets $370,000, while teams receive a minimum $110,000 just for turning up.

"It is a very healthy commercial venture for the game and the clubs,” Greenberg said.

"Millions of dollars go back into grassroots footy through a legacy programme here in Auckland. But also our NRL clubs, they're all here taking a commercial return, as they should.”

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