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NSW VB Blues coach Laurie Daley and newly-appointed rival Maroons coach Kevin Walters will share the spotlight at a business launch in Auckland tomorrow (Thursday) in the lead-up to this weekend’s Downer NRL Nines at Eden Park.

While the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series is four months away, one of the greatest rivalries in all of sport will be the hot topic in Auckland with the former Raiders team-mates coming face-to-face as rival Origin coaches for the first time since Walters’ appointment.

Daley said he would also take the opportunity to get an early look at how current and emerging Blues are shaping up for Game 1 of Origin at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on 1 June with NRL clubs fielding teams with a blend of youth and experience in the tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

“It is a great way to start the season off … people start to get some confidence out of playing well in the Nines,” said Daley.

True Blues legends Steve Roach and Matt Cooper will join Daley at the lunch which is just one of many activities in iconic Auckland settings as NSWRL spreads its “blueprint” in a bid to convert passionate New Zealand Rugby League supporters into “faraway fans” of the NSW VB Blues.

Roach, Cooper and fellow True Blues legend Steve Menzies are taking part in a multi-challenge based tournament with Maroons legends around Auckland this week with Origin-style rivalry in activities such as rock climbing, a Segway challenge and bridge climb.

“I love the vibe that the city of Auckland has during Nines week and also can’t wait to take on the Queenslanders at some of the challenges we have lined up,” Menzies said.

“We’re excited about meeting New Zealanders and getting them pumped about this year’s Origin series.

“With two home games in NSW, there’s no better time for the Blues to take back the Shield, with New Zealand getting behind the Blues with their support.”





Thursday, 4 February


Steve Hart interviews State of Origin coaches Laurie Daley and Kevin Walters (on P & O )



Skills clinics at Manukau Rugby League Club followed by Q and A with Steve Roach, Steve Menzies, Matt Cooper and Josh Perry

Friday, 5 February


Fan-day engagement with Q and A with Josh Perry, Steve Menzies, Steve Roach, Matt Cooper, Brent Tate, Petero Civoniceva and Kevin Walters; followed by fan signing session

Saturday, 6 February


Auckland Nines Tournament with True Blues ambassadors (Menzies, Roach, Perry and Cooper) participating in Opening Ceremony before signing autographs at Blues tent