There's a strong presence of Māori players in many of the 16 NRL teams. A few players to feature are Eels' Apirana Pewhairangi along with Manly's Peta Hiku of the East Coast and West Tigers' hooker, Ngāti Wai's Manaia Cherrington.
Eel's player Apirana Pewhairangi can't wait to play in the Nines.
The Parramatta Eels player isn't surprised at the high number of Māori involved in the competition this weekend, he adds Māori are very talented players.
Manly's Peta Hiku had a dream start to his NRL career April last year and has since pushed his way into the team's Nines side.
Hiku joins Māori player Justin Horo this week in the 16-man squad.
West Tigers Manaia Cherrington has signed a new two-year deal with West Tigers and is seen as captain Robbie Farrah's back-up hooker.
Cherrington is said to be a promising prospect for the Tigers.
Ngāpuhi veteran Adam Blair along with Bodene Thompson are named in the squad, with David Kidwell as assistant coach.