The two-day tournament will kick off this Friday at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.
Tournament coordinator Taua Benioni said there had been wide interest, with local individuals willing to support and contribute to the tournament.
“It’s a great concept especially for all our clubs in Rarotonga, but it’s a pity that Aitutaki is not part of the event,” said sixth-placing sponsor of $500, Papa Patrick Parakoti.
Parakoti teamed up with Grant Priest to sponsor the prize money.
Mike Mouauri, also a sponsor of $500, said: “It’s been an excellent concept since it started in 2016. Even though I have interest as an official in soccer, I enjoy Nines with diehard fans at Avatiu”.
Papa Ria and Mama Rose of Tepuka Store in Nikao are sponsoring the player of the tournament with a cash prize of $250.
“The Bluesky Nines is a great concept and buildup for their main competition starting in February,” they said.
Palace Takeaways and Hawaii Pacific Maritime are joint sponsors for the fourth place $1000.
Benioni said both companies were keen supporters of rugby league in the country.
“Australian husband and wife Mick and Di who have been here for the last two tournaments are sponsoring the trophy for our player of the tournament and the fifth placing prize of $750,” Benioni said.
“Of course our main sponsors - Bluesky, Vonnias, Tourism Cook Islands, Edgewater and Polynesian Bike and Car Hire, have been there for CIRL Bluesky Club Nines from the beginning.
“A big meitaki maata to them all for their support.”
Defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels, TKV Warriors, Tupapa Panthers, Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles, Titikaveka Bulldogs, Arorangi Bears and newcomers Queensland Kukis will battle for the $5000 top prize money.
CIRL Nines tickets have been distributed to all six league clubs for sale. Tickets cost $10 for both days and $7 per day at the gate.
Tickets are also available at stores around the island.
For ticket enquiries contact Taua Benioni on 50893 or Elizabeth Tou, 52681.
Day One – 12.30pm Queensland Kukis-Eels, 12.55pm Sea Eagles-Bulldogs, 1.20pm Warriors-Panthers, 1.45pm Bears-Queensland Kukis, 2.10pm Eels-Bulldogs, 2.35pm Panthers-Sea Eagles, 3.00pm Warriors-Bears, 3.25pm Queensland Kukis-Bulldogs, 3.50pm Eels-Sea Eagles, 4.15pm Panthers-Bears, 4.40pm Queensland Kukis-Warriors, 5.05pm Panthers-Bulldogs, 5.30pm Sea Eagles-Bears, 6.00pm Eels-Warriors; Day Two – 12.00pm Queensland Kukis-Sea Eagles, 12.25pm Panthers-Eels, 12.50pm Bulldogs-Bears, 1.15pm Sea Eagles-Warriors, 1.40pm Queensland Kukis-Panthers, 2.05pm Eels-Bears, 2.30pm Warriors-Bulldogs