Nigel Wall, NRL.com
Hulking Titan Jamal Idris rates his selection in the Indigenous All Stars team as the crowning achievement in his NRL career to date.
“We have a great time out there, putting our bodies on the line for our people and there’s no greater honour,” Idris told NRL.com. “Personally for us this is probably the pinnacle of the achievements we can do because there’s no greater feeling than playing for your people.
“I rate it a nine out of 10 – I’d say the 10 out of 10 for me was probably my under-16s grand final!”
Idris, who played off the bench in last year’s 28-12 defeat and was selected for the inaugural All Stars clash before injury forced his late withdrawal, says he can’t wait for the start of the 2012 All Stars camp.
“It’s a great honour obviously… the excitement never leaves us, especially when you are playing for your people,” he said. “If anything it grows because you know what it’s like. I just can’t wait to get on the field.
“In the lead-up to the game we do a lot of promotional work, we go out to communities, we see a lot of children… personally I like going out and dealing with the children, having fun with them and showing them some skills and stuff on the footy field which they really like.
“All of us here have a lot of nephews and nieces so we all get along with all the children.”
Although he’s played most of his career at centre Idris said he won’t mind switching to the second row to accommodate the star centre pairing of Justin Hodges and Greg Inglis, players he has not teamed with before and who he can’t wait to run onto Skilled Park alongside.
“It’s a good feeling – their level [of ability] on the field picks you up… and picks everyone else up,” he said. “It’s just good even having them on the field – not even if they touch the ball, just having them around.
“I’m happy to play anywhere… I’m hoping to get the call up into halfback… probably won’t but you never know!
“It’s going to be good. There’s going to be heaps of talent running around and with little Chrissy Sandow there’s going to be some good viewing for the audience.”
The dreadlocked giant says he’s particularly looking forward to the innovative rules which will be trialled for the first time in next year’s All Stars game, including the two-man power play and the quirky 20/40 rule.
“The power play and the 20/40, a mix-up from the 40/20… it’s going to be interesting to see who’s taking the kicks – it might be a couple of forwards!” he said.
“And it’s going to be interesting to see what players each team picks to take off the field [for the power play], so I think the audience will be pretty set to watch that.”