After the announcement of the Raiders 2017 Auckland Nines squad, we've had a look over the players selected and picked five exciting talents who could make a big impact at the tournament.
At just 18 years of age, exciting young star Nick Cotric will get his first shot at first-grade action at the Auckland Nines. Capable of playing various positions in the backline, Cotric's versitility will hold him in good stead at the Nines.
Cotric represented the Australian Schoolboys and NSW U18's last year, scoring a hat-trick for the Schoolboys in a big win over England. Having bulked up considerably during his first full pre-season with the NRL squad, Cotric is capable of causing plenty of damage at the Nines.
Santo's skillset is perfectly suited to the Nines format, which explains why he has played in every edition so far.
With nimble footwork and a wicked turn of speed, expect to see Santo leading many of the Raiders attacking raids in just over a week.
A great season with the Mounties in the Intrust Super Premiership earnt Sorensen a call-up to the Raiders side for this season, and he will make his first appearance in the green jersey at the Nines.
Sorensen is a mobile and deceptively quick backrower, exactly the traits that normally excel in the Nines format.
For many Raiders fans the most highlights they have seen of Jordan Turner are small clips on YouTube.
The Nines will change all that when Turner pulls on the green jersey for the first time, ready to show off the benefits of a gruelling first pre-season down under.
Turner has been training in multiple positions during pre-season, and his form during the Nines may give a few hints at where he could possibly fit into the Raiders top 17.
Just like Sorensen, Aiono is a new face at the Raiders this year after impressing on the wing for the Mounties last season. Possessing a great knack for finding the try-line, Aiono will be a good chance at being the Raiders leading try-scorer at the tournament.
A strong showing could enhance Aiono's chances of making a first-grade debut this year.