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Bennett hoping for trio in AllStars team

05/01/2010 04:42:17 PM Comments (0)

Wayne Bennett hopes Matt Cooper, Gareth Ellis and Kurt Gidley are voted onto the NRL All Stars team he is to coach against the All Star Indigenous side.

Fans get to pick 16 players, one from each NRL club, for Bennett's 20-man squad to play the pre-season clash at Skilled Park on February 13 against a powerful combination containing the likes of Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges.

Bennett has shortlisted 64 players, four from each club, for fans to choose from.

And although he has no direct say in who is selected, the veteran St George Illawarra mentor has his own ideas about who should line up alongside the four nominated automatic choices - Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Adam Blair and Cameron Smith.

Asked in a live blog on the NRL website to name the one player he would pick if given the chance, Bennett plumped for Dragons centre Cooper.

"The centres will have to pick up Hodges and Inglis and he is one of the best defensive centres in the game," Bennett said.

The coaching great also nominated Englishman Ellis and NSW skipper Gidley as players he would like to see in his squad.

"I hope Kurt gets picked - he's ideal for this game adding to the balance of the team," he said.

"He can play anywhere and we'll need guys like him. He'll get plenty of playing time."

Ellis, who enjoyed a successful first season in the NRL last year, is named alongside Robbie Farah, Chris Lawrence and Tim Moltzen as the Wests Tigers' nominations.

Bennett agreed with a claim that the former Leeds Rhino was the best player on the list and said the poster who made the call was a smart judge and Ellis would be in his team.

Voters have until midnight (AEDT) on January, 29 to make their selections at www.nrl.com/allstars.

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