The Auckland Nines could feature an altogether different dash for cash next year if its promoter goes ahead with a 100-metre race to determine the NRL’s fastest man.

Duco Events, the promoter of the inaugural tournament, believes a proposal being finalised by renowned sprint coach Roger Fabri could “capture the public’s interest”.

Determining who is league’s fastest man is one of the great talking points, but as yet there has not been a contest to end the debate.

League players Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne, Josh Morris and Ben Barba competed in the Gatorade Bolt four years ago, a contest won by rugby’s Lachlan Turner. But there has never been an event which pits the speedsters of all 16 NRL clubs against each other.

The race concept is the brainchild of Fabri, whose client list includes some of the most fleet-footed stars in the game. He has already received interest from a corporate bookmaker keen to sponsor the event.

“The criteria would have to be that they have played at least three NRL games the previous year,” Fabri said. “Every club does 40-metre testing at the start of the preseason and I’d like to see the clubs supply the information on the top three, so the fans could then vote for who they would like to see.

“It would be like the NBA All-Stars in America; the fans get the opportunity to vote for who they want to see. They don’t want some guy they have never seen before run in that race and then never see them again.

“Everyone wants to know who is the fastest man in the NRL – not the fastest man in rugby league.”

With many of the stars rested from the Nines indicating their willingness to participate next season, the event shapes as the best opportunity to identify and crown the NRL’s fastest man.

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Original Posted: February 23, 2014
Sydney Morning Herald