Indigenous coach Laurie Daley was given an early Christmaspresent by rugby league fans when they picked him a backline fitting of its AllStar status, now all he wants in the new year is for his players to be fit forthe February 4 blockbuster.
The Indigenous All Stars backline is brimming withexcitement machines; it contains two Golden Boot winners (Johnathan Thurstonand Greg Inglis) and last year’s leading NRL try-scorers (Ben Barba &Nathan Merritt).
It’s an imposing attacking force, one which Daley isdesperately eager to see get through the preseason unscathed.
“The squad has lots of experience and talented players,”Daley told NRL.com.
“Hopefully they get through preseason training; there is stilla month to go, so hopefully there is all good news on the horizon in terms of nolate changes. The last couple of years there has always been a couple ofpull-outs, hopefully that won’t be the case this year.
“All the players that are selected want to be a part of itand are quite excited about the challenge that is in front of them.”
That challenge is set to be determined by the fans, with thefirst round of voting on the NRL All Stars team set to close on Friday, January23. The final round of voting will commence on the January 27,where fans will have the arduous task of selecting 16 players out of list of64.
But Daley knows whoever the fans pick in the NRL All Starsside is sure to provide stiff opposition, and is expecting the March 4 showdownto again be an incredible rugby league spectacle.
“If you like your football to be entertaining and tough atthe same time, this is what this game is all about,” he said.
“For a season opener it is of the highest quality and I’msure this one will be no different.
“It’s all about celebrating the wonderful history of Indigenousplayers in our great game and putting back into the community.”