Warriors coach Matthew Elliott has proposed increasing squad sizes for the Auckland Nines after what he describes as a “fantastic” inaugural event.
Warriors coach Matthew Elliott has suggested larger squads as one tweak for what he agrees was a hugely successful inaugural NRL Auckland Nines.
He says the organisers deserve “a massive rap” for what they came up with at Eden Park.
“If you find something wrong, you’re searching hard,” he said.
“I thought that was a fantastic event for rugby league and for rugby league in New Zealand. I’ve got nothing but superlatives.”
However, Elliott, who handed over the coaching of the Warriors’ Nines squad to assistant Ricky Henry, believed one change would be to increase squad numbers from 16 to 20.
“My one suggestion is they need to allow teams to have more players, bigger squads, so you can rest four players at a time,” he said.
“As soon as you do that, you diminish the risk of injury.”
He said the larger squads, along with an earlier start, would help teams having to play four matches on day two if they reached the final.
The extra players would also make for a better spectacle late in the tournament.
“The last few games, the boys looked completely knackered,” he said.
“It was just so noticeable, I thought now, our last game, there was nothing there.”
The Warriors made it through to the semi-finals, where they were shut out by eventual champions North Queensland.
Elliott said his players had returned to training obviously tired, but in a different way than after a 13-a-side match.
“They don’t feel like they’ve played a normal game,” he said.
“Physically, the contact wasn’t as brutal, but they are sore in a different way – tired and bit hollowed out.”
The Warriors have their final pre-season hit-out on Sunday when they face Brisbane in Dunedin.