Star Storm trio selected for All Stars
Storm has had three players selected in the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Star team to play against the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday 9 February at Suncorp Stadium.by NRL
Storm has had three players selected in the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Star team to play against the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday 9 February at Suncorp Stadium. Melbourne captain, Cameron Smith was an automatic selection and is joined by halfback Cooper Cronk and fullback Billy Slater who will make his All Stars debut.
Former Internationals Willie Mason and Timana Tahu will make a stunning return to representative football as rivals after the Knights team-mates were today named as 'coach's selections' for next month's Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars in Brisbane.
Newcastle and NRL All Stars Coach Wayne Bennett chose Mason to make his All Stars debut alongside Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs), James Tamou (Cowboys), Billy Slater (Storm) and Tim Grant (Panthers), while Tahu was chosen by Laurie Daley for his Indigenous All Stars side featuring seven newcomers. The others are Raiders' trio Reece Robinson, Jake Foster and Jack Wighton, Aidan Sezer (Titans), Joel Romelo (Bulldogs) and Dane Nielsen (Warriors).
Indigenous All Stars captain Johnathan Thurston and Broncos NRL All Stars selection Ben Hannant joined Bennett and Daley in Brisbane today for the announcement of both squads for the fourth annual Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match to be played at Suncorp Stadium for the first time on February 9.
More than 40,000 Rugby League fans have had their say via two online voting stages to select a representative from each of the 16 NRL Clubs in the 20-man NRL All Stars squad, while fans could choose from all of Rugby League's best Indigenous talent for Daley's Indigenous All Stars.
Following the closing of the public online voting on Monday, Bennett was able to select two extra players alongside automatic selections Benji Marshall (New Zealand captain) and Cameron Smith (Australian captain); while Daley could pick three extra players in addition to automatic selection (as captain) Thurston.
Bennett's other 'coach's selection' is the Storm's Cooper Cronk, while Daley also chose Wighton and Nielsen.
Daley said: "We certainly have some strike-power in our team and when you look at the calibre of players we have, I think fans will be excited at the style of footy we will play.
"The NRL All Stars is a formidable side with big, powerful, class players in key positions, but I know how determined our team is to perform well and I think we have a squad capable of achieving something special."
Bennett said the public had selected him a balanced side that would be capable of playing the exciting brand of football that had become synonymous with the All Stars game.
"There is no doubt the fans will be in for an entertaining game with the great mix of talented and exciting backs and powerful forwards in both teams, as well as the blend of experience and youth," Bennett said.
"Just as important as the game though is the whole week of All Stars activities and community events and I commend the players for their ongoing commitment to the All Stars concept which continues to help make a real difference to the lives of many Australians."
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