Indigenous All Stars centre Justin Hodges and NRL All Stars forward Nate Myles launched the 2015 All Stars match on the Gold Coast recently, marking the return of the clash – which is set down for Friday February 13 at Cbus Super Stadium – after a one-season hiatus.
Fans have been invited to vote online at allstars.nrl.com to select the 20-man Indigenous All Stars squad.
The raging success of the inaugural Auckland Nines, in an already crowded pre-season, has put the future of the All Stars contest under threat somewhat with player burnout becoming an increasingly hot-button issue.
The All Stars game’s greatest asset, however, is the awareness it generates for Indigenous issues and culture. Next year’s match will mark five years to the day of the inaugural All Stars showdown at the same venue.
In the previous encounter, played in front of a 41,201-strong crowd at Suncorp Stadium in early-2013, Ben Barba and Reece Robinson scored hat-tricks in the Laurie Daley-coached Indigenous All Stars’ comprehensive 32-6 win over Wayne Bennett’s NRL All Stars. Five-eighths Johnathan Thurston and Benji Marshall were the opposing captains that day.
Daley and Bennett will again be at the helm of their respective sides for the 2015 match, which is a one-off return to the Gold Coast before being staged in Brisbane again in 2016.