Former Kiwis front up

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Star attraction: Ex-Warriors league legend Awen Guttenbeil, pictured in 2006 PICTURE: NZ HERALD

A team of former Warriors players, including Awen Guttenbeil, will add star power to the second Queenstown 9s rugby league tournament in two weeks.

Warriors Old Boys are joining nine other teams in the MAXRaft Queenstown 9s Carnival at the Recreation Ground on November 26.

The nine-a-side tournament, first held a year ago, is based on the popular NRL Auckland Nines.

Guttenbeil’s side includes at least four other former Warriors – Mark Horo, Whetu Taewa, John Simmons and Gavin Hill – who’ve also played for the New Zealand Kiwis.

But star power might not match the other teams’ firepower.

Chief organiser Paisa Bedggood suggests three Christchurch sides “who have been playing all year in a high-level competition” will be the favourites.

They’re the Hornby Panthers and Riccarton Knights, who finished first and second in last year’s eight-team tournament, and the Linwood Keas, who won this year’s premier and reserve grade competitions in Christchurch.

The three Dunedin entrants include the champion Kia Toa side – “they’ve been training pretty hard, three times a week since September, I’ve heard”, Bedggood says – along with South Pacific Raiders and East Coast Eagles.

The Wakatipu Giants, who played last year, have folded.

But some of their former players will play for the nomadic Tumeke Natives.

The other teams are Auckland’s Point Chevalier Pirates and Invercargill Cooks.

Like last year there’ll be two pools, and games will consist of two nine-minute halves.

Pool games start at 9am.

Entry’s free and spectators can bring their own food and booze – however no glass is allowed.

scoop@scene.co.nz