The man of the match the last time the All Stars game was contested back in 2013, Ben Barba again appears likely to play a major role for the Indigenous side in the upcoming clash.
The final hours of voting for the 2015 Indigenous All Stars team will see a thrilling race as Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis fight for the title of the game’s most popular Indigenous player, however also firmly entrenched inside the top 10 on the voting list is Barba, making him an almost certain starter in the February 13 match.
Where he will play for Laurie Daley’s team however remains open for debate, with the NSW and Indigenous All Stars coach having the luxury of playing Barba in the halves alongside Thurston, or alternatively at fullback, which would mean a potential switch of Inglis into the centre position.
However while the current focus is on those who will line up in the All Stars game, Barba’s new Sharks teammate Andrew Fifita has been officially withdrawn from the game as he continues his recovery from a thumb and arm injury.
Fifita was polling strongly however the All Stars game will arrive before his rehab program is complete, unfortunately making him unavailable.
The withdrawal of Fifita and with one or two of the other high profile players also expected to be missing, the doors opens for debutants in the 2015 Indigenous All Stars team.
Two-time Indigenous All-Star Greg Inglis encouraged fans not to forget the game’s young up-and-coming players when voting.
“There is something magical about being chosen to be an Indigenous All Stars team member,” Inglis said. “All Stars is not just about the footy, but how we act as a group, learning from each other and sharing stories.”
To date, 11,000 people have played the role of ‘team selector’ for the Indigenous side, determined to retain the Arthur Beetson Trophy following their 2013 win at Suncorp Stadium.
With voting closing at 11:59pm (AEDT) tomorrow (Friday 9 January ), fans have just over one day left to have their say in the NRL All Stars side at www.nrl.com/allstars.
The final team for the third annual Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars will be announced on Monday 19 January.
Overview of NRL Indigenous All Stars voting:
• The first player to be chosen in the NRL All Stars team will be the player who scores the highest number of overall votes in a position.
• If a player withdraws from the team due to injury, he will be replaced by someone from the bench.
• The open bench spot will then be replaced by someone from the injured player’s club, with the new player having recorded the second highest number of votes from that club, either as a forward, back or utility, depending on the position needed for the bench.
The 2015 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars will be held at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday, 13 February with tickets available through www.ticketek.com.au
The Indigenous All Stars team is proudly sponsored by Crown Resorts Foundation.
2010 – Indigenous All Stars 16 def NRL All Stars 12
2011 – NRL All Stars 28 def Indigenous All Stars 12.
2012 – NRL All Stars 36 def Indigenous All Stars 36
2013 – Indigenous All Stars 32 def NRL All Stars 6