This is one of the most star-studded pools in the 2016 Auckland Nines, featuring the local heroes, the beaten NRL grand finalists and two of Sydney's most dominant clubs. 

The Broncos and Bulldogs are the best of Auckland Nines buddies, having met in both the previous tournaments with Brisbane holding bragging rights after 20-4 and 13-0 victories. The Warriors are Nines specialists and have made the finals on both previous occasions, while the Sea Eagles will be looking to get off to the best start possible under new coach Trent Barrett. In saying that, in 2014, the Warriors racked up a 23-point win over Manly and will again start as one of the tournament favourites here.

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS

Past tournaments: 2014 – semi-finals; 2015: quarter-finals

Player to watch: Shaun Johnson – It'll be interesting to see how the Warriors star bounces back from his broken leg. With the Nines being an expansive game it'll be a telling factor to see what Johnson has lost in his time off. The freakish halfback finished the last tournament with the most line break assists (6) and try assists (7) of any player.

Predicted pool finish: 1st 

MANLY-WARINGAH SEA EAGLES

Past tournaments: 2014 – pool stage; 2015 – pool stage

Player to watch: Matt Parcell – The Sea Eagles recruit who scored five tries in a semi-final for the Ipswich Jets in the Intrust Super Cup could be dynamite out of dummy-half for his new club. He could also make his case he should be starting in the Sea Eagles' No. 9 jumper ahead of Apisai Koroisau.

Predicted pool finish: 2nd

BRISBANE BRONCOS

Past tournaments: 2014 – runners-up; 2015 – pool stage

Player to watch: Anthony Milford – He was mere seconds away from winning the Clive Churchill Medal in the grand final, so surely Milford is out to prove a point. He took a bit of time to warm to playmaking duties last season meaning his Nines campaign wasn't anything spectacular, but expect him to shine this time around.

Predicted pool finish: 3rd

CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS

Past tournaments: 2014 – pool stage; 2015 – pool stage

Player to watch: Curtis Rona – He produced the most metres for the Bulldogs in their Nines campaign earlier this year and showed why the Bulldogs signed him. Ended up finishing 2015 as the second highest try scorer in the NRL.

Predicted pool finish: 4th

This article first appeared on NRL.com