Rugby league legend Brad Fittler has hit out at Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould over the latter’s negative comments about the Auckland Nines tournament.
Gould tweeted a series of comments earlier this month during one of his question and answer sessions explaining his reasons for disliking the event.
He feels it increases the risk of injury for NRL players, and offers the clubs little in the way of compensation. He also expressed cynicism about the like of 44-year-old Reuben Wiki coming out of retirement to play in the event.
Fittler, who himself came out of retirement to play in the 2015 Nines for the Sydney Roosters, could not disagree more.
“Nines isn’t a real fabric of our game just yet, but I’ve got no doubt it will be,” Fittler told Fox Sports News 500.
“It’s a much more exciting thing to watch and it is rugby league, there’s no doubt about that.
“I think some of those dinosaurs like Gus (Gould) might need to twist their thinking a little bit and get on board with the Nines.
“I think in 20 years our Nines competition is going to resemble what Twenty20 (cricket) looks like, and also Sevens rugby.
“There’s no doubt about that. It’s a lot more exciting, and you can tell by the way people are attracted to the game — there’s going to be 35,000 each day over there at Eden Park.
“I think pre-season should be made up of Nines competitions, whether ones in Auckland, Brisbane, and Hong Kong, or whatever it is.
“What a great way to show our game to the world.”