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Daley says All Stars will return

Laurie Daley says he holds no fears for the future of the All Stars concept, despite rugby league's celebration of Indigenous culture taking on a vastly different form in 2014.
Daley says All Stars will return
by AAP

By Ben Horne

SYDNEY, Dec 3 AAP - Laurie Daley says he holds no fears for the future of the All Stars concept, despite rugby league's celebration of Indigenous culture taking on a vastly different form in 2014.

Due to the anticipated toll the recently completed Rugby League World Cup will have on the game's star players, it was decided the annual All Stars match should be "rested" and in its place a non-elite Indigenous team will play the Newcastle Knights in a trial match on February 8.

Instead of the NRL's premier Indigenous talent taking centre stage this coming pre-season, the showpiece event will be the Auckland Nines tournament, taking place on the following weekend in February.

The Nines is the latest addition to a rugby league calendar already criticised for being too clustered, but Daley said the NRL was in the "entertainment business" and argued there was room for both the All Stars and the Nines concepts going forward.

Daley has been assured the Indigenous All Stars v NRL All Stars match, which promotes Aboriginal issues and culture, is a priority for the game and will return in 2015.

"All the indications I've been given is it's a big part of the rugby league calendar, so I certainly don't hold any fears," Daley told AAP.

"They are pretty committed to staging it into the future. The timing of the game is for the powers that be to decide, but in terms of the game itself it's here to stay. I don't think there are any worries there."

Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the Indigenous All Stars' concept, having coached the NRL All Stars since inception in 2010.

Bennett said next year's switch to promoting emerging talent was a good compromise and believes NRL clubs could potentially add a young Indigenous player to their roster based on performances in the match.

"The Indigenous game is not a trial match, believe me. It's a full on game of rugby league," Bennett said.

"I'm really happy with the concept."


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