Emotional Campbell out of All Stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Emotional Campbell out of All Stars

02/02/2011 06:13:15 PM Comments (0)

The Indigenous All Stars have been given even more motivation to beat the NRL All Stars at Skilled Park next month following emotional skipper Preston Campbell's withdrawal on Wednesday.

The veteran utility, whose visionary All Star concept proved a hit throughout last February, has succumbed to injuries to his ankle, knee and hamstring, denying him the honour of leading the indigenous side in defence of its All Star crown.

"We all know what this game means to Presto and how much he wanted to play for his people," said Johnathan Thurston, describing his elevation to captain as a "massive honour".

"None of us will want to let him down now."

While his teammates would have supported him playing at 80 to 90 per cent fitness, Campbell made an unselfish early call to allow coach Laurie Daley and Thurston ample time to prepare fully for the February 12 showdown.

Instead, he's vowed to do everything he can to help get the players ready and the fans whipped up to support them.

"It's disappointing to miss out, particularly because it's such a big game for me," said Campbell.

"I could probably play but it's only fair to have the strongest team out there on the field.

"I'll still be involved in all the great community activities that happen off the field during All Stars week which is just as important as the game and I'll also be helping the players prepare."

"It's better to make the call early. They go into camp on Sunday and they can get someone in to fill my position and prepare with the team.

"It gives a young bloke (Anthony Mitchell) who's only played a few NRL games an opportunity and he probably deserves it.

"I dare says he'd be pretty excited about playing."

Queensland and Australian halfback Thurston says the captaincy role carries a lot of pride and responsibility.

"Taking on the role of captain in a side that represents my people is very special and I'll be doing everything I can to live up to the high standard Preston set as the inaugural captain last year," said the Cowboys skipper.

Parramatta hooker Anthony Mitchell was named as Campbell's replacement in Daley's squad while Warriors utility Joel Moon has been drafted in for Broncos forward Sam Thaiday, ruled out this week with a groin problem.

"We are obviously disappointed that Preston has been ruled out of the game, he's a fantastic leader and a well-respected member of the team, said Daley on Wednesday.

"Preston will still join the team in camp and is committed to playing an active role in our preparations and community events during the week.

"This is a well-deserved opportunity for Johnathan."

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