By W D Nicolson, January 19, 2012
The wait is nearly over Rugby League fans.
In just over two weeks the NRL All Stars will look to go back to back in the 2012 All Stars Game held at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast against the Indigenous All Stars.
This year the game will be played for the Arthur Beetson Trophy on February 4, and currently both teams have registered a win in the event, the Indigenous All Stars won 16-12 in 2010 and the NRL All Stars cruised to a 28-12 victory last year.
|Johnathan Thurston has been a feature of the All Stars Game in both 2010 and 2011.|
The voting format involved fans for the third straight year and resulted in the following two teams being named over the Christmas-New Year period. The Indigenous All Stars named their 20 man squad on December 7, and today the NRL All Stars announced a 20 man squad at NRL HQ.
Picking a winner in a pre-season game is always difficult but looking at the quality that the NRL All Stars have been able to assemble for the game on February 4, it is hard to look past them going back to back at Skilled Park. But as everyone learned in the inaugural game, count the Indigenous All Stars out at your peril.
It is great to see Jack Reed get more recognition for what was really a special rookie season and although the likes of Akuila Uate, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Stewart, Darius Boyd and Petero Civoniceva didn't get a run for a variety of reasons (injury mostly) the NRL All Stars look very good. For the Indigenous All Stars the selection of Nathan Peats is also a reward for a rookie season that was well received at Redfern, even if he didn't get much recognition across the league.
Paul Gallen was announced as the top vote getter for the NRL All Stars, while Thurston was the standout choice for the Indigenous Team (despite being an automatic inclusion before voting opened). Other big vote getters were Jharal Yow Yeh, Greg Inglis, Sam Thaiday and Greg Bird for the Indigenous Team, while Cooper Cronk made a late charge to beat out Gallen for top dog on the NRL All Stars team.
The most interesting voting outcome involved North Queensland's Brent Tate and Dallas Johnson. According to www.nrl.com only two votes separated Tate from Johnson when voting closed yesterday.
As for the game itself, NRL CEO David Gallop paraphrased 'The Indigenous Boys' at the Press Conference by saying "It is going to be deadly."
|At the Presser Benji Marshall asked Wayne Bennett a simple question "Why did you pick me?"|
Here are the Teams for the 2012 All Stars Game. You can watch the Press Conference Here.
- Josh DUGAN, Raiders
- Jason NIGHTINGALE, Dragons
- Jack REED, Broncos
- Michael JENNINGS, Panthers
- Manu VATUVEI, Warriors
- Benji MARSHALL, Tigers
- Cooper CRONK, Storm
- Kade SNOWDEN, Knights
- Cameron SMITH, Storm (c) | Injury replacement Aaron PAYNE, Cowboys
- Luke BAILEY, Titans
- Nathan HINDMARSH, Eels
- Dave TAYLOR, Rabbitohs
- Paul GALLEN, Sharks
- Adam BLAIR, Tigers
- Frank PRITCHARD, Bulldogs
- Jared WAEREA-HARGREAVES, Roosters
- Tony WILLIAMS, Sea Eagles | Injury replacement Anthony WATMOUGH, Sea Eagles
- Brent TATE, Cowboys
- Luke LEWIS, Panthers
- Ben HORNBY, Dragons | Injury replacement Nathan FIEN, Dragons
COACH: Wayne BENNETT, Knights
NRL ALL STARS TEAM SUMMARY:
- There are 10 debutant NRL All Stars in 2012, with Jack Reed, Jason Nightingale, Cooper Cronk, Kade Snowden, Frank Pritchard, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Tony Williams, Brent Tate, Luke Lewis and Ben Hornby all new to the All Star scene. Lewis and Hornby were Wayne Bennett's special 'Coaches Picks' that rounded out the 18 man squad that the public picked via www.nrl.com/allstars which included 16 representatives from each club plus Benji Marshall and Cameron Smith as automatic selections as captains of the New Zealand and Australian teams.
- Only Cameron Smith, Benji Marshall and Michael Jennings have featured in all three games for the NRL All Stars. Jennings is the only player to get a run via the public vote in all three games for the NRL All Stars and would have possibly missed out if Chris Lawrence had not been ruled out very late in the voting process.
- The Bench is made up of 5 forwards and 2 backs, but Luke Lewis and Tony Williams can play wider if required.
- Josh Dugan was named Man of the Match for his performance in the 2011 All Stars Game. He scored a try and ran 12 times for 172 metres with 3 line breaks and 13 tackle breaks in a stunning display.
- Benji Marshall is the 'top pointscorer' in the two clashes so far with 8 points (one try and two goals from two attempts).
- Eight players have scored tries for the NRL All Stars - Josh Morris scored the first in 2010, followed by Benji Marshall, Michael Jennings, Brett Morris, Paul Gallen, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Akuila Uate and Josh Dugan. Cameron Smith has one from two goal attempts and Kurt Gidley one goal from one attempt.
- Cameron Smith has made the most tackles for the NRL All Stars across the two games with 67.
- Michael Jennings has made 4 Line Breaks and 19 Tackle Breaks in just two games.
- Ben BARBA, Bulldogs
- Jharal YOW YEH, Broncos
- Greg INGLIS, Rabbitohs
- Justin HODGES, Broncos
- Nathan MERRITT, Rabbitohs
- Johnathan THURSTON, Cowboys (c)
- Chris SANDOW, Eels
- Tom LEAROYD-LAHRS, Raiders
- Travis WADDELL, Raiders
- George ROSE, Sea Eagles
- Sam THAIDAY, Broncos
- Jamal IDRIS, Titans
- Greg BIRD, Titans
- Andrew FIFITA, Sharks
- Cory PATERSON, Cowboys
- Matthew BOWEN, Cowboys
- Scott PRINCE, Titans
- Anthony MITCHELL, Roosters
- Joel THOMPSON, Raiders
- Nathan PEATS, Rabbitohs
COACH: Laurie DALEY
INDIGENOUS ALL STARS TEAM SUMMARY:
- There are 5 debutant Indigenous All Stars in 2012, with Chris Sandow, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Nathan Peats and Andrew Fifita all new to the All Star scene. Joel Thompson, Anthony Mitchell and Nathan Peats were Laurie Daley's special 'Coaches Picks' to round out the 17 man squad selected by the public before Christmas. Johnathan Thurston was the only automatic selection.
- Greg Inglis had to withdraw from the first two games due to injury after being selected.
- One advantage the Indigenous All Stars may have is continuity. Johnathan Thurston, Nathan Merritt, Scott Prince, Jharal Yow Yeh, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Joel Thompson, Travis Waddell, George Rose, Cory Paterson and Greg Bird have been selected for all three games.
- The Bench is made up of 4 forwards and 3 backs, although Joel Thompson can play in the backrow as well as centre.
- Johnathan Thurston was the first recipient of the Preston Campbell Medal as the Man of the Match with his display in 2010. He was in everything for the Indigenous team that rallied from 12-10 down with 6 minutes left to win the inaugural contest.
- Thurston has the most points for the Indgenous All Stars with 6 (from 3 conversions from 3 attempts).
- Wendell Sailor has the first try in All Stars history. Other tryscorers for the Indigenous All Stars include Ben Jones, Jamie Soward, Ben Barba and Nathan Merritt. Scott Prince has a single conversion.
- Cory Paterson has made the most tackles fore the Indigenous All Stars across the two games with 48.
- Greg Bird has made 7 offloads in two games.
Who do you think wins the 2012 All Stars Game and why?
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