The 2016 rugby league season begins this weekend when  all 16 NRL teams and 288 star players descend on Eden Park for this two-day, nine-per-side knock-out tournament extravaganza.

With prize money on offer, rule changes and much more set to feature this weekend, bulldogs.com.au takes a look at everything you need to know for the 2016 Auckland Nines.

How does the Auckland Nines work?

  • All 16 NRL Clubs together in Auckland
  • Featuring 288+ star players
  • 31 action packed games
  • 9 players per team, 9 minute halves
  • NZ $2.6 million dollars + in prize money
  • Over 90,000 fans expected over 2 days

Can I watch the Auckland Nines on TV?

Yes, the Auckland Nines tournament will be broadcast LIVE and exclusive across Australia on Fox Sports, Channel 501.

Can I listen to the Auckland Nines on radio?

Yes, the Auckland Nines tournament will be broadcast LIVE and exclusive across Australia on Triple M in Sydney and Brisbane.

The Auckland Nines - Live and in full on Triple M and via the Triple M NRL App.

Saturday, 6 February

Triple M Sydney 104.9 FM (AEDT). Live coverage from 10.00am (AEDT) and Triple M Brisbane 104.5 FM. Live coverage from 9am (AEST)

Sunday, 7 February

Triple M Sydney 104.9 FM (AEDT). Live coverage from 8.35am (AEDT) and Triple M Brisbane 104.5 FM. Live coverage from 7.35am (AEST)

The Bulldogs Auckland Nines squad!

1. Tyrone Phillips, 2. Jarrod McInally, 3. Chase Stanley, 4. Craig Garvey, 5. Matt Frawley, 6. Kerrod Holland, 7. Dane Chisholm, 8. Danny Fualalo, 9. Adam Elliott, 10. Tim Browne, 11. Tony Williams, 12. Sam Kasiano, 13. Greg Eastwood (c), 14. Pat O'Hanlon, 15. Shaun Lane, 16. Reimis Smith, 19. Ruebenn Rennie, 20. Brad Abbey.

What are the rules of the Auckland Nines?

1. Game

Each match shall consist of two equal halves of nine minutes. A half time period of two (2) minutes shall apply to all matches.

Each Club must nominate a team comprising of 14 players and a total of five interchange players may be used on an unlimited interchange basis throughout the match.

2. Scrums 

All scrums shall be formed with a maximum of five players from each team (three players in the front row and two in the second row). 

3. Points

A try counts for four points except for those tries scored in the ‘Bonus Zone’ which will be worth five points. The ‘Bonus Zone’ is a marked box located in the in-goal area.

All penalty kicks at goal shall be taken by way of a drop kick from the point at which the penalty is awarded and will be worth two points. 

A field goal in general play shall be awarded as one point.

4. Shot Clock

Immediately following the Referee signalling the awarding of a try, the scoring team will have a maximum period of 25 seconds to complete the conversion.

5. Restarts

All kick offs to re-start play, other than for the start of each half, shall be taken by way of drop-kick and must travel 10 metres in a forward direction.

6. The Sin Bin

The period of temporary suspension shall be a maximum of three (3) minutes or, in the event that a match is completed within this period, the period of temporary suspension shall be until the completion of the match.

7. Tackle Count

A team in possession of the football shall be allowed four successive play the balls

8. Extra Time – Golden Try

If scores are level at the completion of a qualifying match, five minutes of 'Extra Time - Golden Try' will be played. The winner of the match shall be determined to be the team which scores the first try in this period of play. If no one scores, the match will be deemed a draw.

For all Finals’ matches (Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final), the match will continue until a try is scored.

9. Free Play

The rule is aimed at allowing the team which gains possession from a mistake to attempt a high risk play without fear of losing advantage.

Under the rule, the referee will call "zero tackle" when a team gains possession from a knock on, forward pass or accidental offside.

That will signal a "free play" which will enable the team which gains possession to have an extended advantage. This means they will retain the ball even if they make a mistake.

The advantage will only be complete if the team scores, if a player commits foul play or a player with the ball is tackled. If the ball is dropped or lost before the next play the ball, the referee will order a play the ball at the point of the original infringement.