Popular Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess has been withdrawn from NRL All Stars voting today for the 2012 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match at Skilled Park on February 4.
South Sydney officials today confirmed that Burgess, who played in the inaugural NRL All Stars team in 2010 before making his NRL debut, is still recovering from an injury sustained last season and will not be ready for the match.
Burgess is expected to be fit for the start of the 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership.
Burgess was currently the top-ranked Rabbitohs player, marginally ahead of David Taylor in overall votes for the one South Sydney position on the team and was polling well in the second row and props positions in the Stage Two public voting process which started on December 27.
Michael Crocker will now replace Burgess as one of the four Rabbitohs’ “shortlisted” players in the 64-man list.
The “selectors” have nine days left to lodge their votes or make changes to their submissions if they have already voted at www.nrl.com/allstars with voting closing on January 18, ahead of the team announcement the next day.
Fans face the challenging task of deciding which of their favourite players to select for NRL All Stars honours as the cut-throat final stage of voting pits team-mates against each other for a prized spot in the third annual All Stars match.
Sharks and NSW captain Paul Gallen is currently the most popular Cronulla player ahead of team-mate Todd Carney, with a thrilling race still on between other team-mates including Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels); Tony Williams and Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles); Manua Vatuvei and Shaun Johnson (Warriors); Nate Myles and Luke Bailey (Titans); Jason Nightingale and Ben Creagh (Dragons); and Kade Snowden and Neville Costigan (Knights).
The 16 players chosen by the public (one from each club) will join NRL All Stars captain Benji Marshall and Storm captain Cameron Smith, who are automatic team selections, and two “coach’s picks” by Wayne Bennett in a 20-man squad for the third annual All Stars match.
The Indigenous All Stars, named on December 7, will be coached by Laurie Daley and the line-up includes: Johnathan Thurston (c), Ben Barba, Jharal Yow Yeh, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Nathan Merritt, Chris Sandow, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Travis Waddell, George Rose, Sam Thaiday, Jamal Idris, Greg Bird, Andrew Fifita, Cory Paterson, Matthew Bowden, Scott Prince, Anthony Mitchell, Joel Thompson and Nathan Peats.
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 selected.
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.
Tickets for the 2012 Harvey Norman All Stars match are still available through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au. New Zealand customers can call 0800 842 538 or +61 132 849.