Tahu could return as Indigenous All Star - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tahu could return as Indigenous All Star

16/10/2009 08:07:48 PM Comments (0)

Thurston to Prince to Inglis to Hodges to Tahu.

Rugby league's Indigenous All Stars are expected to field a virtual Test-strength backline next February against their NRL All Star opponents, a concept both sides believe could rival the quality of State of Origin.

A host of superstars were named on Friday as eligible to play in the Aboriginal side for the pre-season charity event, which will mark the anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generation, at Gold Coast's Skilled Park on February 13.

The majority of positions in the final team, to be captained by the Titans' Preston Campbell and coached by Neil Henry, will be voted by the public.

Current Test representatives Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges are on the long list, along with Queensland star Scott Prince and returning dual international Timana Tahu.

There is less depth in the forwards, but Thurston said the Indigenous side's spirit would help compensate.

"It will be adrenalin pumping, you'll be thinking of your family, of your people, where you come from, where you were brought up and what your family's been through to get me where I am," he told reporters.

"So all those juices will be flowing through the body for sure.

"With the culture and heritage there, we're a very spirited people and I know my family that have passed on will certainly be looking down and I think (they will be) proud too."

As the NRL claimed more Aboriginal players and fans than the AFL, Thurston and Kangaroos captain Darren Lockyer suggested the game had Origin-like potential.

"It will be a success, it's got that concept about it where it will really take off in years to come, it will probably be a feature of our game," Thurston said.

Asked if it could rival the interstate clash, Lockyer added: "Definitely. I think the idea is great, there's obviously a lot of thought gone into it and I think Skilled Stadium on the 13th of next February will be sold out ... I'm sure it will be a success."

Online voting for the Indigenous All Stars side opens at www.nrl.com on October 24 and runs until November 15.

Opponents the NRL All Stars, who will be coached by Wayne Bennett and include one player from every club, will also be voted by the public, in January.

They are likely to pit a superstar halves pairing of Benji Marshall and Lockyer against Thurston and Prince with the current Australian and New Zealand captains and vice-captains automatic selections.

"You always thought about it and joked about it and you write it down on a bit of paper, what the team could look like, but you never really thought the opportunity would come," Thurston said.

" ... I think the impact that the game will have off the field will far outweigh the game on the field."

Possible Indigenous All Stars team: Preston Campbell (capt), Wendell Sailor, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Timana Tahu, Scott Prince, Johnathan Thurston, Cory Paterson, Sam Thaiday, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, George Rose, PJ Marsh, Carl Webb. Interchange: Matt Bowen, Daine Laurie, Yileen Gordon, Fred Briggs.

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