Nine-a-side competition starts

Bears player Chey Grace takes the ball up while University players Aiden Mwaahi (centre) and...
Bears player Chey Grace takes the ball up while University players Aiden Mwaahi (centre) and Lachlan Graham try to slow him down at Kettle Park on Wednesday night. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Otago rugby league nines competition kicked off at Kettle Park on Wednesday night as the game gets back out on the field.

The competition, which will run for the month of August, involved squads of a maximum of 14 players with — as the name suggests — nine players per side on the field at one time.

Games are nine minutes each half with unlimited substitutions.

New Zealand Rugby League southern zone manager Steve Martin said the games were of a good standard played under the new lights at Kettle Park, which he said were outstanding.

The competition had been a chance for those who wanted to have a go at the sport and Martin said about half the players were having their first crack at league.

He said during the Covid-19 lockdown period and its aftermath, many league players had decided to play rugby union. Many now had the chance to come back to league.

The club competition would start on August 29 and the six team competition would include a team from Oamaru.

The competition would finish on October 10 and there would be a South Island representative competition over Labour Weekend.

Otago had made an impression in the representative competition over the past few years and would be keen to continue that run this year.

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