Rugby league fans have just two days to play selector and help choose super-coach Wayne Bennett’s NRL All Stars team for the clash with the Indigenous All Stars at the Gold Coast next month.
Bennett has made it clear that he is pleased to hand the reigns over to the public for the selection of 16 players from a 64-man shortlist to join skipper Darren Lockyer and vice-captain Benji Marshall.
The shortlist was announced four weeks ago following the first stage of public voting, which saw more than 21,000 fans take up the opportunity to elect four players from each club (two backs and two forwards).
Five changes have been made to the original shortlist due to player injuries - Bulldogs Greg Eastwood and Frank Pritchard have been replaced by Michael Ennis and Aiden Tolman; the Warriors’ Manua Vatuvei has been replaced by Krisnan Inu; the Roosters' Mitchell Pearce replaces Todd Carney; and the Panthers' Sam McKendry is in for Luke Lewis.
Stage Two closes at 11.59pm AEDT (10.59pm in Queensland) next Thursday at www.nrl.com/allstars
and challenges fans to select only one player from each club for the February 12 match.
Bennett will then select two additional players of his choice to include in an extended bench.
He has assigned the following positions to the 64 shortlisted players: Backs have been divided into three separate groups:
- Fullback – Specialist role
- Outside back – Includes centres and wings
- Inside back – A player who can play five- eighth or halfback Forwards have also been divided into three categories:
- Tight forwards – A player who plays front-row and also second-row
- Edge forwards – A second-rower or lock that can play on both the right and left side edge of a team’s attack and defence
- Hooker – Specialist role
The coach wants at least three tight forwards in the starting line-up.
Bennett is also asking the fans to consider:
- Players marked as utility players have been designated on the basis of their ability to cover multiple positions
- The seven-man bench will require: two Tight Forwards, one Edge Forward, one Inside Back, one Outside Back, two Utilities.
Two players on the seven-man bench will be selected by NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett at the completion of Stage Two voting. Brisbane Broncos
Corey Parker - Edge Forward
Ben Hannant - Tight Forward
Alex Glenn - Outside Back
Ben Hunt - Utility, Hooker, Inside Back Canterbury- Bankstown Bulldogs
Michael Ennis - Tight Forward
Aiden Tolman - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Bryson Goodwin - Outside Back
Ben Roberts - Inside Back Canberra Raiders
David Shillington - Tight Forward
Bronson Harrison - Edge Forward
Josh Dugan - Fullback
Jarrod Croker - Outside Back Cronulla Sharks
Paul Gallen - Tight forward
Jeremy Smith - Edge forward, Tight forward
Nathan Gardner - Fullback
Colin Best - Outside Back Gold Coast Titans
Ashley Harrison - Edge Forward
Mark Minichiello - Tight Forward
Kevin Gordon - Outside Back
William Zillman - Fullback Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Anthony Watmough - Edge Forward
Brent Kite - Tight Forward
Jamie Lyon - Outside Back, Inside Back
Tony Williams - Outside Back Melbourne Storm
Cameron Smith - Hooker
Adam Blair - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Cooper Cronk - Inside Back
Chase Stanley - Outside Back Newcastle Knights
Neville Costigan - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Zeb Taia - Tight Forward
Akuila Uate - Outside Back
Kurt Gidley - Utility North Queensland Cowboys
Dallas Johnson - Edge Forward
Matthew Scott - Tight Forward
Antonio Winterstein - Outside Back
Ashley Graham - Outside Back Parramatta Eels
Nathan Hindmarsh - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Tim Mannah - Tight Forward
Jarryd Hayne - Fullback
Luke Burt - Outside Back Penrith Panthers
Sam McKendry - Edge Forward, Utility
Petero Civoniceva - Tight Forward
Michael Jennings - Outside Back
Michael Gordon - Outside Back St George Illawarra Dragons
Ben Creagh - Edge Forward
Dean Young - Utility, Hooker
Darius Boyd - Fullback
Brett Morris - Outside Back South Sydney Rabbitohs
Dave Taylor - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Roy Asotasi - Tight Forward
Fetuli Talanoa - Outside Back
Junior Vaivai - Outside Back Sydney Roosters
Nate Myles - Tight Forward
Braith Anasta - Inside Back, Utility
Mitchell Pearce - Inside Back, Utility
Shaun Kenny-Dowall - Outside Back New Zealand Warriors
Feleti Mateo - Edge Forward
Simon Mannering - Edge Forward
Lance Hohaia - Fullback, Utility
Krisnan Inu - Outside Back Wests Tigers
Gareth Ellis - Edge Forward
Robbie Farah - Hooker
Lote Tuqiri - Outside Back
Chris Lawrence - Outside Back Overview of NRL All Stars voting:
- The first player to be chosen in the NRL All Stars team will be the player who scores the highest number of overall votes in a position.
- Once a player from one club is placed in the team, no other player from that club can be chosen.
- If a player withdraws from the team due to injury, he will be replaced by someone from the bench.
- The open bench spot will then be replaced by someone from the injured player’s club, with the new player having recorded the second highest number of votes from that club, either as a forward, back or utility, depending on the position needed for the bench.
- The Australian and New Zealand captains are automatically included in the team.
- At the end of Stage Two voting, the coach selects from shortlisted players still available, the two remaining players to complete the 20-man squad.
Less than 2000 tickets are available for the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars to be played at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on February 12, 2011.
Tickets are available through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849
New Zealand customers can call 0800 842 538 or +61 132 849.