Knights captain Kurt Gidley and team-mate Akuila Uate are causing headaches for the NRL All Stars selectors with comments from coach Wayne Bennett leaving them in a quandry over who to choose for the February 12 clash.
In Bennett's exclusive on-line chat with rugby league fans on NRL.com yesterday, which was designed to help fans select the NRL All stars team this month, he said "there is definitely a spot in the team for a player like Kurt".
He also expressed interest in Uate for one of the wing spots, along with the Warriors' Manu Vatuvei.
"Well they both sound great; both wonderful players to watch," Bennett said. "Only problem is if you pick someone like Uate, you leave someone like Gidley out.
"Gidley played in last year's team, and he played a significant part of the game at fullback ....
"...Gidley certainly offers far more versatility, but you have to try and get a balanced team, so it just depends if Gidley or Uate fits into that."
Gidley was an interchange player in the inuagural Harvey Norman All stars match last year, won by the Indigenous team 16-12, and he confirmed today that he is keen to play again should he be chosen when public voting ends at 11:59pm AEDT on January 27, 2011. To vote, click here.
“It was great to be coached by Wayne for the first time during last year’s All Stars and see a different side of him,” Gidley said.
“The whole week was good, I got to play with some guys who I had never had the opportunity to play with before and it would be great to have that again.”
The dilemma for rugby league fans, who have been asked to pick 16 players to join captain Darren Lockyer and vice-captain Benji Marshall, is that they can only select one player from each club from a shortlist of 64 voted by the public. They also have to take into account Bennett's preferred playing positions and team composition.
Bennett has some great talent in fullbacks to choose from in the absence of Test fullback Billy Slater (shoulder injury) - Jarryd Hayne (Eels), Josh Dugan (Raiders), Darius Boyd (Dragons) and Gidley - but their selections would be at the expense of their talented team-mates such as Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), David Shillington (Raiders), Brett Morris (Dragons) and Uate.
The only way both Gidley and Uate could be in the All Stars side is that the one who is not among the 16 chosen by the public, is selected by Bennett as one of the two interchange players he is entitled to choose for an extended bench after voting has been finalised.
Gidley said he would love Uate to have the chance to play in the prestigous match at Skilled Park, Gold Coast.
“Aku is a real crowd pleaser who I think should get a go, but it would be fantastic if we could both play,” he said. 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.
To vote, click here.
Rugby League fans are also being reminded to secure their tickets for the 2011 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars, with less than 2000 tickets remaining.
Tickets are available through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849 or click here.
New Zealand customers can call 0800 842 538 or +61 132 849.