NRL All-Stars Preview Indigenous All-Stars v World All-Stars Friday, February 10, 8.00pm (AEDT) McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
The All-Stars concept returns for the 2017 season with the match being played in NSW for the first time as McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle plays host to this clash. The World All-Stars replaced the NRL All-Stars last year and won a low-scoring match by 12-8. Fans will be hoping for a more expansive game on Friday night, with the Inidgenous All-Stars out to make amends for last year’s loss.
Selection NotesThe Indigenous All-Stars team looks the stronger side on paper featuring the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Andrew Fifita, as well as exciting young talent like Latrell Mitchell and Bevan French. The World All-Stars side has been dealt a massive blow in the lead up to this match, losing both Jarryd Hayne and Joseph Leilua to injury. A backline of David Mead, Akuila Uate, Gerard Beale, Jarrod Croker and Nene McDonald looks extremely vulnerable in the absence of Hayne and Leilua.
HistoryIntroduced in 2010, the All-Stars match has been played six times with the Indigenous All-Stars team scoring three wins to the NRL All-Stars’ two, while the World All-Stars won last year’s edition. The Indigenous All-Stars have scored victories in the last two of the last three, winning 32-6 in 2013 and 20-6 in 2015. The World All-Stars defeated the Indigenous All-Stars 12-8 at Suncorp Stadium last year. Only one All-Stars match has surpassed 40 points.
Key MatchupJohnathan Thurston v Mitchell Moses: Thurston missed last year’s All-Stars clash and has spoken out in the lead up to this clash about his pride when putting on the Indigenous All-Stars jersey and the concept as a whole. He’ll obviously be the key man for the Indigenous All-Stars as they look to bounce back from last year’s loss. Young Tiger Mitchell Moses won the club’s best and fairest last season and put in some strong performances in the back end of the 2016 NRL season as the Wests Tigers made a push to play finals football. This will be a massive task coming up against arguably the best player in the game, but it will be a great learning curve and there’s no better teacher than JT.
Final Thoughts This is a game set-up for the Indigenous All-Stars – who naturally have much more passion and much more investment in the game. They will be filthy about losing last year and receive a massive boost by the return of Johnathan Thurston. The World All-Stars team looks very weak on paper and will be relying on the inexperienced halves pairing of Mitchell Moses and Moses Mbye to direct them around the park. The Wolf is tipping the Indigenous All-Stars to win this one comfortably.