NRL All Stars match lives up to its billing

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    The intensity in Saturday night’s NRL All Stars game proves that it has its place on the rugby league calendar. The haters will tell you that the injury to Greg Inglis is enough proof that the game should be axed – which is total rubbish.

    Played at a cracking pace, the 2012 version of the NRL All Stars game had it all.

    Like caged animals hungry for blood, the players were finally released from the torment of pre-season training and given 80 minutes to blow away the cobwebs. They did that and than some to produce an enthralling game of footy.

    Doubters of the concept will tell you that the game should be abandoned. That NRL trial matches are good enough and the top players shouldn’t play any footy prior to round one at all.

    The problem with this is that footy players need time on the field. The injury to Inglis in the final minutes of the clash at Skilled Park is a travesty for South Sydney Rabbitohs fans. But that’s just bad luck. That injury could have happened anywhere.

    New Zealand Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman will miss the start of the season after hurting himself in a trial Saturday night against the Gold Coast Titans. Injuries just happen.

    NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett knew the Indigenous side would come out firing.

    “I think the Indigenous team really came at us hard at the beginning there. Lots of passion and emotion was running through them” Bennett said.

    “Thank God it ran out in the end and it gave us a chance to get back in the game.

    “It was just starting to run out at halftime and starting to wane a little bit. We picked our (intensity) up in the second half and they’d fired all their bullets.”

    The match exploded early with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Thaiday (surprise surprise) almost coming to blows.

    Waerea-Hargreaves was involved again after a lengthy break down the western side of the field from the Indigenous. The Roosters enforcer came over the top of Ben Barba who was already into touch. The fire inside the players was evident.

    The altering of a number of rules saw the game played at a frenetic pace. With the referees restarting the tackle count instead of blowing a penalty, players were out on their feet.

    The players themselves will tell you that the hit out done just as much as any training could have done.

    Waerea-Hargreaves knows exactly what the game means.

    “It was pretty intense out there. There wasn’t many words said – I just stood my ground” Waerea-Hargreaves said.

    “They’re playing for their culture and good on them.”

    That’s the whole point. This is a celebration of the Indigenous people. This is their night and anyone that still doesn’t believe in the annual clash are in denial.

    Veteran back rower Nathan Hindmarsh turned the clock back with a strong performance in both attack and defence while Jamal Idris and Nathan Merritt were impressive for the Indigenous.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • February 6th 2012 @ 8:59am
      Greg said | February 6th 2012 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      Don’t axe it but definitely move it to the end of the season e.g. like the NFL Pro Bowl. Sides would be selected from teams that weren’t in GF. If it was on at the end of the season you would have the following advantages

      – Play the game on the saturday before the GF, so you have a full weekend of entertainment for people that come to town for the GF.

      – Players will have played a full season so they will be a bit more relaxed and look at the game for what it really is- a novelty. They will still be competitive (as they are in the NFL PB) but maybe enjoy it a bit more e.g. players with microphones, on the weekend Jamal Idris was not keen on talking during the game. In the PB players are more relaxed and even make jokes, it’s entertaining and enjoyable.

      – More injuries occur at the beggining of the season. And if there are any injuries they have the off season to recover.

      Just an idea.

    • February 6th 2012 @ 11:39am
      GC Tiger said | February 6th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      I thought the game was fantastic. I attended the very first game and have watched the following 2 on TV and can can say that it gets better every year.

      Injurys happen.. GI and Tate are a piece of glass anyway.

      The powerplay was embarrasing and should never be talked about again but unless we try things we can never evolve.

      The 6 again can only work if there is unlimited interchange and we sore where that took the game after super league, athletes not footballers. Maybe if we tweek it so that it only happens if the infringement happens in the attackers half. That would speed up the game immensely but not over do it.

      Greg Bird again showed why I threw my Titans membership in the bin. He is the grubbiest player in history and then makes me chringe when he sulks about other players reacting to his dirty play. ie the Gallan incident.

      Overall the game was fast, intense and deserves to stay.

    • February 6th 2012 @ 12:56pm
      PJ said | February 6th 2012 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

      The All Stars match is a a disgrace. If it is to be played the NRL should push the Grand Final back a week and the All Stars match can be played that weekend. What it would do will allow the teams in the GF to have an extra week off to prepare, obviously no players from the two GF teams would play but I can’t see that as a problem. On another note as a member of the crowd on Saturday night I was disgusted to be sitting behind a young aboriginal gentlemen with his aboriginal flag emblazoned with the phrase “black power” across the middle of the flag. Could one imagine the out cry of I held up the Australian flag with the words “white power” written on in.

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      • February 8th 2012 @ 10:16pm
        League_Coach101 said | February 8th 2012 @ 10:16pm | ! Report

        “I was disgusted to be sitting behind a young aboriginal gentlemen with his aboriginal flag emblazoned with the phrase “black power” across the middle of the flag.”

        Save your disgust for the fact Indigenous kids getting locked in jail at a higher rate than almost any other culture on earth.

        Save your disgust for the parents who let their kids wander the streets while they’re home getting drunk

        Save your disgust for the generation of Indigenous kids who don’t even understand the concept of employment because they don’t know any member of their family who has had a job

        Save your disgust for the plight of Indigenous kids who get picked up by cops, searched by security guards and harrassed from one end of our ‘white power’ society to the other because of the colour of their skin.

        Save your disgust for all these things…. and leave this Aboriginal kid who actually for a moment feels proud of who he is without really understanding what he is writing on his flag.

        Or at least keep your self righteous comments to yourself.

    • February 6th 2012 @ 1:03pm
      Phil said | February 6th 2012 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

      Why was this match only shown in New South Wales & Queensland?

      • February 6th 2012 @ 1:12pm
        GC Tiger said | February 6th 2012 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        Because Channel Nine are a bunch of W**kers and the NRL don’t have the balls to demand better.

        • February 6th 2012 @ 3:41pm
          Matt S said | February 6th 2012 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

          There was no reason whatsoever that nine could have put this game on their digital channels. A disgrace but then again, we wouldn’t want our precious southern markets knowing anything about rugby league or the All Stars concept.

          • February 9th 2012 @ 6:35am
            Boomshanka said | February 9th 2012 @ 6:35am | ! Report

            It was outside of the “ratings period” and the game is not on the anti siphoning list, so it could have been played on any of the three channels.

            Nine showing their true colours here. Looking forward to them being punished later this year.

    • Roar Guru

      February 6th 2012 @ 1:36pm
      The Barry said | February 6th 2012 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

      I loved the game in it’s first season but have struggled to warm to the concept since.

      I’m not indigenous so feel a phony cheering for them but likewise I don’t really want to cheer against them either.

      Once every couple of years would make it a better spectacle than every season. I know the game means a lot to indigenous players but will it once they’ve played four, five or six of these games ? Wouldn’t it mean more if a player only got a couple of opportunities to represent over the course of his career rather than a game every season ?

    • February 6th 2012 @ 5:31pm
      Chris said | February 6th 2012 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

      Good article. My only gripe is your use of the word ‘haters’ – I believe you should be shot for that Yanky-panky rubbish. This isn’t an MTV teen drama, man.

      • Roar Guru

        February 6th 2012 @ 6:05pm
        Curtis Woodward said | February 6th 2012 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

        One Million apoligies @Chris

        • February 7th 2012 @ 8:35am
          GC Tiger said | February 7th 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          Don’t worry Curtis. Chris is obviously a Hater of Yanky Panky Teen age talk that he watches on MTV. In the words of LL Cool J a “Haters gonna Hate”

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