NSW VB Blues coach Laurie Daley has thrown his support behind this weekend’s Downer Auckland Nines, labelling the tournament a “must” for the growth of the sport and its long-term future.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s a great concept and I’d like to see it around in the years to come,” Daley said.

“I think there’s a great feel around, and I know the players love playing it, some of the coaches don’t like the Nines concept, but overall it’s a concept I think we should embrace. It’s growing the game, seeing more people watch it and bringing it to another audience over here in New Zealand.

“I think if you look at other sports in Australia, they’ve got an abbreviated form of the game. This is our equivalent of Twenty20 cricket and it’s great for our sport.”

The Downer Auckland Nines takes place this weekend on Waitangi Weekend at Eden Park.

For more on the Auckland Nines and NSW Rugby League’s True Blues’ adventures across the Tasman, keep visiting www.nswrl.com.au.