Moses Mbye of the Bulldogs is tackled by Luke Keary during the NRL trial match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Click for more photos

Nine rising stars at the Auckland Nines

Moses Mbye of the Bulldogs is tackled by Luke Keary during the NRL trial match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Photo: Getty Images

  • Moses Mbye of the Bulldogs is tackled by Luke Keary during the NRL trial match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
  • Mitchell Moses
  • George Jennings in a NSW Cup match between Windsor Wolves and Manly.
  • Eto Nabuli
  • Michael Lichaa
  • Jackson Hastings
  • Tyrone Phillips
  • 5TH AUGUST- 2012- SPORT -STORY LEE GASKIN- THE CANBERRA TIMES- PHOTO BY MELISSA ADAMS.
Australian School boys v England at Canberra Stadium, Bruce. Australian player, Clint Gutherson scores a try.
  • Raiders youngster Mitchell Cornish.

Michael Lichaa

Position: Hooker

2013 NYC: 15 games

Michael Lichaa

Michael Lichaa. Photo: Supplied

Avg metres: 116

Line-break assists: 10

Tackle breaks: 40

Offloads: 41

The Cronulla hooker is attracting plenty of interest from rival clubs and is considered the hottest young player on the open market. A strong runner of the ball who was instrumental in Cronulla's NSW Cup premiership charge last year, Lichaa is expected to take advantage of the one marker in the Nines. ''You don't like to label players but he's certainly someone people will be reading and talking about as the year progresses,'' his manager Sam Ayoub said.

Eto Nabuli

Position: Wing

Played NSW Cup last year, no stats

Brought across to Penrith by Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler from Fiji, Nabuli is made for Nines football. He comes from a rugby sevens background and is tipped to be one of the most entertaining players at the tournament. ''Eto will be a sensation,'' Penrith NSW Cup coach Garth Brennan said. ''He is lightning fast, tall, and enormous. He's scored one of the best tries I have ever seen. He will be very exciting to watch.''

Clint Gutherson

Position: Fullback, wing, centre

2013 NYC: 13 games

Line-breaks: 11

Try assists: 6

Avg metres: 118

Tackle breaks: 43

Gutherson has been likened to a young Josh Dugan. He's being groomed as Brett Stewart's successor but Gutherson, who made his NRL debut on the wing last year, won't be playing second fiddle to any player in the Nines format. While he may not be able to match it with the quickest men in the tournament, he is deceptively strong and has the uncanny knack of beating the first defender. He finished the Holden Cup with 43 tackle breaks in 13 matches for the Sea Eagles last year.

Mitchell Moses

Position: Five-eighth

2013 NYC: 14 games

Tries: 12

Try assists: 13

Line breaks: 6

Line-break assists: 7

Moses is one half of the Wests Tigers' young halves duo who have set the juniors alight. While Luke Brooks will start the year in the NRL, Moses is still growing and will develop his game in the NYC and NSW Cup. However, his freakish skill could see him make a name for himself in the Nines. ''I made him captain of the NSW under-18s when I had him,'' former coach Garth Brennan said. ''He's quick and smart and will love the extra space with nine men on the field.''

Moses Mbye

Position: Halfback, hooker

2013 NYC: 17 games

Tries: 11

Line breaks: 8

Try assists: 9

Tackle breaks: 35

Mbye represented the Queensland under-20s last year and has been training with the NRL squad all pre-season. The former Bulldogs Holden Cup captain is the main playmaker in Des Hasler's Nines squad and will have the chance to prove himself on the big stage. ''He's a very confident young kid and very mature,'' Bulldogs under-20s coach Andrew Patmore said. ''I think it's a good introduction for him into first grade in a relaxed environment with extra space.''

Jackson Hastings

Position: Fullback, halves

2013 NYC: 16 games

Tries: 8

Try assists: 9

Tackle breaks: 38

Line breaks: 7

Hastings is the son of Roosters legend Kevin Hastings. Having only just turned 18, Hastings joins the Roosters from the Dragons with plenty of expectation. It's unlikely he'll feature in the NRL this season but he definitely has the game to star at the Nines. Manager Sam Ayoub said the experience of playing alongside Mitchell Pearce and Brad Fittler will be invaluable. ''Mitch and Freddy will be great for him,'' Ayoub said. ''Freddy has already taken him under his wing since he has been at the Roosters.''

George Jennings

Position: Centre, wing

2013 NYC 12 games

Avg metres: 142

Tackle breaks: 60

Line breaks: 7

Missed tackles: 6

He was part of Penrith's premiership-winning under-20s team last year and has been training with the NRL squad this pre-season. George, the younger brother of Roosters centre, Michael Jennings, possesses the same dazzling feet but with a bit of extra grunt. ''When you look at him there is no doubt he is a Jennings but there are certain things that he does differently to Michael,'' former Panthers Holden Cup coach Garth Brennan said. ''He's more powerful.''

Tyrone Phillips

Position: Fullback, centre, wing

2013 NYC: 24 games

Tackle breaks: 104

Tries: 13

Line breaks: 12

Avg metres: 123

Phillips has joined the Bulldogs from South Sydney on a two-year deal and could start the year at fullback as Ben Barba's replacement. He finished last season with a mammoth 104 tackle breaks in the Holden Cup from 24 matches. With that type of strength and ability to bump out of tackles, he will be difficult to contain in the Nines. Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has been very impressed by the 20-year-old in the pre-season.

Mitchell Cornish

Position: Halfback

2013 NYC: 15 games

Tackle breaks: N/A

Tries: 3

Line breaks: N/A

Avg metres: N/A

Together with Anthony Milford, Mitchell Cornish has terrorised the under 20's competition. He was the main reason why the Raiders decided to offload Sam Williams to the Dragons. Cornish will start the year in the No.7 for the Raiders, pushing Josh McCrone to the hooking role. His creativity will see him set up plenty of tries at the Nines.