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Can the All-Stars game become more than a gimmick?

Pete_Lock Roar Rookie

By Pete_Lock, Pete_Lock is a Roar Rookie

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    Today saw the announcement of the NRL and Indigenous All-Star teams for the annual All-Star clash, this year to be held at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

    The All-Stars concept was created from the mind of proud Indigenous player and former Dally M winner Preston Campbell, and nobody could doubt what he is trying to achieve.

    A game that gives Indigenous rugby players the opportunity to play for their people and promote pride within the community in itself is a fantastic concept. However, more could be done to make this a serious fixture.

    The All-Stars game has so much potential to be something truly special, but with the way it is currently run, is it anything more than a pre-season exhibition match?

    If the NRL are happy to keep the All-Stars match as is then there is no need to change anything.

    However, if this is to turn into a serious representative fixture that players strive to play in, and want to win, then a few changes must be made.

    Pick the best vs the best
    The All-Stars concept is based on the idea of the best Indigenous players in the NRL coming up against the best non-Indigenous players. On paper this sounds great, however the fact that the NRL All-Stars team requires only one player from each club means that the ‘best’ factor is lost.

    Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater are undoubtedly the best players in their positions in the world, but the fact that they can’t be selected in the same starting line up of a supposed rep team makes the All-Stars a bit of a gimmick already.

    The best players available to represent each team must be picked, regardless of which club they play for.

    This also means that fans picking the team would also have to go. Each team’s coach and his assistants should be in charge of picking the best players to play for their teams if this is to become a true representative fixture.

    Having the fans pick a side is a great idea to help promote a match, but rep teams should be picked on playing ability rather than popularity, otherwise Nathan Hindmarsh would be getting picked 4 years into his retirement.

    Scrap the trial rules
    I am all for trying to improve rugby league with new rules that will make the game faster and more of a spectacle, but trialing rules should be left to trial games, not important representative fixtures.

    Having rules such as the power play be trialed as a one off turns the All-Stars match into an exhibition, when it could be so much more.

    Personally I think the All-Stars game is a brilliant concept, but a few tweaks could see the worth of these jerseys for the players move towards that of an Origin or Test cap.

    Passion for the jersey is what the fans want to see, which surely will bring us an entertaining, must-see game of rugby league.

    No doubt the Indigenous All-Stars would feel this pride and passion, but if we truly had the best NRL All-Stars team out there, they might feel the same.

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • January 17th 2013 @ 7:54am
      oikee said | January 17th 2013 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      “The All-Stars game has so much potential to be something truly special, but with the way it is currently run, is it anything more than a pre-season exhibition match” ?
      That is exactly what it is, and for the game to become serious, you could not play this game at the start of the season, most players have not even had a trail game.
      This game and the 2 million raised is all about the indigenous players and their pride and traditions in our code. That is enough to get excited about.
      If it became to serious it would lose it’s way. This game can and probably will be taken around Australia, i can see this game going to Perth, Adelaide, even Darwin if it does not get to hot, maybe not Darwin, maybe if they played at night with the sprinklers going. ?

      • January 17th 2013 @ 5:45pm
        JezRu said | January 17th 2013 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

        Agree oikee on sending the match around the nation. This is a great showcase of Rugby league and the work it does in Aboriginal communities. I think as “All-Stars” you would definitely attract crowds wherever they play for the simple fact of seeing some of the best talent in the game on show.

        I would also like to see the game gain a more international flavour with a couple of ESL players perhaps being included??

    • January 17th 2013 @ 8:06am
      Sailosi said | January 17th 2013 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      It’s very hard when one team is selected purely along racial lines. Rightly or wrongly it’s a situation that can sometimes create confusion. At a time when integration is being taught and encouraged, segregation is being welcomed. The South Africa rugby union won’t allow the NZ Maori to play in SA and there were even rumors that some people at the RFU weren’t to keen on a team selected on race touring the UK last year.

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    • Roar Guru

      January 17th 2013 @ 9:06am
      peeeko said | January 17th 2013 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      a lot will depend on the quality of indigenous players available at the time. there is a good chance that there will be a time when there are only a few good players of aboriginal descent and the game may not be that competitive. this obviously is not a problem at the moment with the large amount of top-line aboriginal NRL players

    • Roar Pro

      January 17th 2013 @ 9:35am
      The High Shot said | January 17th 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      “No doubt the Indigenous All-Stars would feel this pride and passion, but if we truly had the best NRL All-Stars team out there, they might feel the same.”

      No player takes the field without caring about the result or their own performance. I think there’s plenty of passion in that sense.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 10:36am
      Will Sinclair said | January 17th 2013 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      I am not a fan of the All Stars concept.

      If either Benji Marshall or Robbie Farah get injured playing in this Mickey Mouse game, I hope the Tigers sue the NRL for all their worth.

      It’s a joke.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 10:46am
      george said | January 17th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      great concept played with tremendous spirit.a great way to celebrate the influence of our indigenous players past and current..something unique in our code.lets just leave it as is .Great way to start the season

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