Farah says gains worth pain at Auckland Nines

Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah has urged clubs not to be deterred from sending their best players to the Auckland Nines, adamant the positives of the tournament outweigh the injuries suffered there.

Tigers back-rower Curtis Sironen is expected to miss the start of the season and could be sidelined for an extended period after a suspected broken toe at the Auckland Nines.

The fitness of the players was always going to be the major factor in determining whether coaches would send their best players back to Auckland next year.

As well as Sironen, Cronulla's Todd Carney (hamstring), North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote (knee), Gold Coast forward David Taylor (leg), Manly's Michael Chee-Kam (elbow) and Sydney Roosters forward Isaac Liu (knee) all suffered injuries on the opening day of the tournament at Eden Park.

It is likely to leave coaches contemplating whether risking their best players just three weeks out from the start of the season is a worthy exercise.

However, Farah has backed the Nines concept and believes injuries should not deter clubs from sending over their strongest sides.

''What do you do, don't play?'' Farah said. ''Dene Halatau broke his ankle last week in a trial game. It's part of the game, injuries. I know Toddy Carney did a hammy as well but what do you do, stop playing?

''Whether it happens now or in the season, it's going to happen. It's unfortunate but there are a lot more positives to this than there are negatives. It's been brilliant.''

Sironen left the field midway through the Tigers' second game and will have scans on Sunday.

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