The popular Group 16 Nines round-robin tournament will kick off the season this weekend.
The annual fixture will be held at Moruya’s Ack Weyman Oval on Saturday.
Officials said with the growth in the ladies league-tag draw, it was only fitting to include ladies play alongside the men’s during the fixture.
Eight teams will contest a $500 major prize in the women’s fixture where the runners-up will take home $150.
And another eight teams will vie for the $750 main prize in the open men’s draw.
“The Nines is always an exciting round,” Group 16 chairman Allan Wilton said. “It’s a great chance to see what the teams are bringing for the season and the new talent on show.”
It’s a great chance to see what the teams are bringing for the season and the new talent on showAllan Wilton
“It’s a really fast format and it will be great to see what some of these new young players can bring to the table.”
The Bega Roosters will be in the hunt for the prize in the men’s and women’s draws.
Merimbula-Pambula has withdrawn from the ladies pool and officials said a Milton/Ulldadulla side had been invited to compete at short notice and would be allowed overflow players from the Moruya Sharkettes to ensure a full draw.
The Nines has become a crowd favourite in the pre-season with a majority of Group 16 teams taking part to test their mettle prior to the regular season launch.
The Moruya Sharks and Bay Tigers have taken out the cash prize in previous events and there will be plenty of pride on the line for teams to see if they can take home the money.
CRL is moving towards an under 23s format for representative rounds and most of the teams will put up a youthful showing in the Nines.
"A majority of the clubs will be entering some pretty young sides going to that under 23s format,” Wilton said.
“The following week is the Indigenous v All Stars round and we’ll be naming teams based on their showing at the Nines.”
The Nines is a short-format nine-a-side tournament with teams fielding nine players each and contesting nine minute halves.
The ladies competition will run across six minute halves.
Clubs are placed across two pools and play three pool games before a finals series. Games will run from 8am on Saturday with the final at 5pm.
The Indigenous v All Stars round will be in Batemans Bay on March 18.
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