Campbell stunned by All Stars dream - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Campbell stunned by All Stars dream

By Laine Clark 07/02/2010 07:34:33 PM Comments (0)

The long wait finally ended for Preston Campbell when the Indigenous All Stars team went into camp on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

But the man who helped inspire the All Stars concept still couldn't believe it.

An idea first floated 12 months ago by Campbell and Titans boss Michael Searle became a reality when the Indigenous team officially came together ahead of Saturday night's Skilled Park showdown with the NRL All Stars.

Yet Campbell was still pinching himself at their team photo on Sunday.

"It was almost surreal, really," said Campbell, who will captain the Indigenous All Stars.

"Later we started signing some jerseys and I had (Scott) Prince to my left, Carl Webb to my right and big Wendell (Sailor) standing across from me gobbing on about something.

"It seemed suddenly it was here. I did get a bit teary eyed."

Searle and Campbell first came up with the All Stars idea after the Titans playmaker captained the hugely successful Indigenous Dreamtime team's clash with New Zealand Maori in October 2008 as part of the Rugby League World Cup's opening ceremony.

The historic game may be still days away but it has already proved a hit.

Searle has already secured a three-year TV deal for the showpiece event to be staged at Skilled Park, tipping it to become the "fourth Origin" on the rugby league calendar.

Indigenous All Star jersey sales have gone through the roof, with demand already smashing the 10,000 barrier - manufacturers KooGa initially thought they would only sell 2000.

And Campbell admits he is amazed at the locations punters are travelling from for the blockbuster event.

"We've got busloads from Perth, Darwin, Adelaide - it's pretty amazing some of the postcodes they are coming from," he said on Sunday.

"Some you wouldn't even think they would know about rugby league.

"So you want it to be a good spectacle but I don't think you are going to have any trouble with that looking at the players in the teams.

"Darren Lockyer playing alongside Benji Marshall against a team with Scott Prince alongside Johnathan Thurston - you are talking about competitive players here."

But Campbell stresses over and again - it's not about the result.

"It is more than a rugby league game or a sporting event, especially being on the anniversary of sorry day - this is very special," Campbell said.

Played on the second anniversary of the federal government's apology to the Stolen Generation, Campbell firmly believes the match will not only honour their past but also inspire indigenous communities toward a bright future.

"So it's not about the end result - it's about what it can do for people after the game," he said.

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