From park football to the Test arena in less than 12 months, Broncos star Jack Reed is leading the way in the first stage of public voting for the 2012 NRL All Stars team to play at Skilled Park on February 4.
Reed, who burst onto the NRL stage in Round 1, playing every game of the 2011 Telstra Premiership, and finished the season playing for England in the Four Nations, has captured the imagination of fans with more than 5,500 votes for the NRL All Stars team.
Trailing Reed with less than a week to go in voting for the 2012 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match is Josh Morris (Bulldogs), the 2011 most popular player Paul Gallen (Sharks) and 2011 Preston Campbell Medal winner Josh Dugan (Raiders).
Stalwarts of the game have also been popular among public selectors, with Petero Civoniceva, Nathan Hindmarsh and Fuifui Moimoi all in the top 10 overall voted players so far.
Online voting at www.nrl.com.au/allstars closes at 11:59pm on December 23, after which a “shortlist” of 64 players (top two forwards and two backs from each club) will be announced for Stage Two voting which starts December 27 and closes January 18, with the public having to choose only one player from each club.
The top 10 players for the NRL All Stars in Stage One voting so far are:
The top players for each of the 16 clubs in Stage One voting so far include:
North Queensland Cowboys
St George Illawarra Dragons
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Gold Coast Titans
New Zealand Warriors
Almost 10,000 fans have made their selection for the first stage of voting for Wayne Bennett’s team.
Bennett chatted to fans in a live blog on NRL.com earlier this week and said he was keen to see the Storm’s Cooper Cronk play alongside captain Benji Marshall in the halves. He also singled out Feleti Mateo for his risk-taking skill and a talent like Josh Dugan at fullback. All three are tracking well in the voting.
When Stage One voting is complete, Bennett will place the 64 players into positions he wants each to be considered for, including the make-up of the interchange bench. New Zealand skipper Marshall, who is captain of the NRL All Stars, is an automatic selection as is Australian team representative Cameron Smith.
The public will select 16 players, which must include one player from each of the 16 NRL clubs, and Bennett will select the remaining two players to make up the 20-man squad.
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.
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