The side had until Monday to confirm their participation in the annual event, which will be held at the BCI Stadium in Nikao. However Cook Islands Rugby League acting competition co-ordinator Tai Nelio said the Warriors had decided not to enter in this year’s tournament.
The tournament on Friday and Saturday will feature six clubs from Rarotonga, including two Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles teams, defending champions Queensland Kukis and Miyaki All Stars (family team). It will also feature the Aitutaki Sharks who will compete in the Nines for the first time since the tournament began in 2016.
The Auckland Kukis, who initially showed interest in competing at the Nines, pulled out of the tournament.
“We are finalising the draws and hoping to release the fixtures in the coming days,” Nelio said.
“The participating teams have time until this afternoon (Friday) to send their confirmed team list. Most of the teams have already handed in theirs, but a couple of teams still have to submit the team list.”
Clubs are allowed to register 20 players in the teams with four officials. The competition rule that each team or club must have a maximum of four non-Cook Islanders still applies.
However one minor rule change the CIRL executives have made is that “all club players are a free agent in this Nines competition unless the player is contracted to another club”.
The Cook Islands Nines was established in 2016 to assist clubs in their pre-season preparation before the season starts in February.