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 was launched today, pitting team-mates against each other for a prized spot in the 2012 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match on February 4.

As Stage Two of voting got underway from midday (AEDT) today at www.nrl.com/allstars, players from all 16 NRL clubs will be competing against each other to secure the one spot available per club for the NRL All Stars team for the third annual match at Skilled Park.

Broncos rising star Jack Reed was the surprise most popular player in Stage One of voting which closed on Friday night, but he faces his toughest test from team-mate and 2011 “Favourite Son” Petero Civoniceva to secure the one Brisbane spot in the NRL All Stars line-up.

Fans will also have to choose between the likes of the Paul Gallen and Todd Carney from the Sharks, the Raiders’ Josh Dugan and David Shillington; and Eels trio Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Hindmarsh and Fuifui Moimoi who all made today’s “shortlist of 64 players – two forwards and two backs from all 16 NRL clubs.

More than 13,400 fans had their say in Stage One, voting online over the past three weeks to determine the 64-man list and now they have until January 18 to cut that to16, with only one player from each club eligible.

NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett spent three days over Christmas assigning positions to the 64 shortlisted players following the completion of Stage One voting at midnight on Friday (December 23).

“I’ve got to say I am pleased with the names the fans have put forward in stage one of voting, but I think the real challenge Iies in this second phase, as there is a lot to consider,” Bennett said.

“This is a tough task for the most experienced of selectors as not only do the fans have to think about shaping the side with the best player in each position, but they also need to consider that only one player from each club can be selected.

“The rivalry that voting creates between players is one of the great concepts about this match; like Origin, it is team-mate against team-mate and all the boys want to be a part of it.

“In the years gone by the public has delivered me an exceptional team and I am counting on the fans to do the same in 2012, especially with both sides going into the match with the series level.”

The Broncos’ Jack Reed was the clear leader in Stage One of voting tallying a total of 7812 votes, 478 ahead of the next player, capping off a spectacular 2011 season that saw him rise from playing park footy to donning an English jersey in the Four Nations Series.

The unluckiest player to miss out was the Storm’s Ryan Hoffman, who showed his popularity, being pipped by Kevin Proctor by just nine votes although he played in the UK Super League this year.

The top 10 voted players in Stage One of voting for the NRL All Stars are:

Player

Club

Jack Reed

Brisbane Broncos

Josh Morris

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Paul Gallen

Cronulla Sharks

Josh Dugan

Canberra Raiders

Cooper Cronk

Melbourne Storm

Jarryd Hayne

Parramatta Eels

Luke Lewis

Penrith Panthers

Nathan Hindmarsh

Parramatta Eels

Fuifui Moimoi

Parramatta Eels

Petero Civoniceva

Brisbane Broncos

With Stage One of the NRL All Stars public selection process now complete, Bennett has assigned the following positions to the 64 shortlisted players and has asked fans to consider his guide below.

Backs have been divided into three separate groups:
-
Fullback – Specialist role
-Outside Back – Includes centres and wings
-Inside Back – A player who can play five-eighth or halfback

Forwards have also been divided into three categories:
-Tight Forwards – A player who plays front-row and also second-row
-Edge Forwards – A second-rower or lock that can play on both the right and left side edge of a team’s attack and defence
-Hooker – Specialist role

Bennett wants at least three tight forwards in the starting line-up.

Bennett is also asking the fans to consider:
-Players marked as utility players have been designated on the basis of their ability to cover multiple positions
-The seven-man bench will require:
--- two Tight Forwards
--- one Edge Forward
--- one Inside Back
--- one Outside Back
--- two Utilities

Two players on the seven-man bench will be selected by Bennett at the completion of Stage Two voting.

Club Forward / Back Bennett’s Positioning Guide to fans
Brisbane Broncos
Petero Civoniceva Forward Tight Forward
Corey Parker Forward Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Jack Reed Back Outside Back
Gerard Beale Back Outside Back

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Frank Pritchard Forward Tight Forward
Michael Ennis Forward Hooker
Josh Morris Back Outside Back
Steve Turner Back Outside Back

Canberra Raiders
David Shillington Forward Tight Forward
Shaun Fensom Forward Edge Forward
Josh Dugan Back Outside Back
Terry Campese Back Inside Back

Cronulla Sharks
Paul Gallen Forward Tight Forward
Jeremy Smith Forward Tight Forward, Edge Forward
Todd Carney Back Inside Back
Nathan Gardner Back Outside Back

Gold Coast Titans
Nate Myles Forward Tight Forward
Luke Bailey Forward Tight Forward
David Mead Back Outside Back
William Zillman Back Outside Back

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Tony Williams Forward Edge Forward
Glenn Stewart Forward Edge Forward
Kieran Foran Back Inside Back
Daly Cherry-Evans Back Inside Back

Melbourne Storm
Sika Manu Forward Edge Forward
Kevin Proctor Forward Edge Forward
Cooper Cronk Back Inside Back
Gareth Widdop Back Outside Back

Newcastle Knights
Kade Snowden Forward Tight Forward
Neville Costigan Forward Tight Forward, Edge Forward
Junior Sa’u Back Outside Back
Jarrod Mullen Back Inside Back



North Queensland Cowboys
Dallas Johnson Forward Edge Forward
Matthew Scott Forward Tight Forward
Brent Tate Back Outside Back
Kalifa Faifai Loa Back Outside Back
Parramatta Eels
Nathan Hindmarsh Forward Tight Forward
Fuifui Moimoi Forward Tight Forward
Jarryd Hayne Back Outside Back
Luke Burt Back Outside Back
Penrith Panthers
Luke Lewis Forward Utility Player
Sam McKendry Forward Tight Forward
Michael Jennings Back Outside Back
Michael Gordon Back Outside Back
St George Illawarra Dragons
Ben Creagh Forward Edge Forward
Michael Weyman Forward Tight Forward
Jason Nightingale Back Outside Back
Matt Cooper Back Outside Back
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Sam Burgess Forward Edge Forward, Tight Forward
David Taylor Forward Edge Forward
Matthew King Back Outside Back
John Sutton Back Inside Back
Sydney Roosters
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves Forward Tight Forward
Braith Anasta Forward Edge Forward
Anthony Minichiello Back Outside Back
Mitchell Pearce Back Inside Back



Warriors
Feleti Mateo Forward Edge Forward
Simon Mannering Forward Utility Player
Manu Vatuvei Back Outside Back
Shaun Johnson Back Inside Back

Wests Tigers
Gareth Ellis Forward Edge Forward
Adam Blair Forward Tight Forward
Chris Lawrence Back Outside Back
Beau Ryan Back Outside Back



The Indigenous All Stars 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.

All Stars Ticket Categories and Prices

Price Category

Adult

Concession

Junior

Family

1

$95.00

$75.00

$65.00

$255.00

2

$65.00

$50.00

$40.00

$180.00

3

$35.00

$30.00

$25.00

$100.00

Results:
2010 – Indigenous All Stars 16 def NRL All Stars 12
2011 – NRL All Stars 28 def Indigenous All Stars 12.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said hosting the only representative match in Australian sport where the public selects the teams is a great coup for Queensland.

“This match brings together Rugby League’s best Indigenous and non-indigenous players in a powerful celebration of the diversity of Rugby League,” said Ms Bligh

“Competing for the Arthur Beetson Trophy at the February 4 match will be a great honour for the players following a moving service this month for the iconic Queenslander and Rugby League legend.

“Queenslanders are proud of their Rugby League heritage with last year’s NRL All Stars match drawing crowds of more than 25,800 – which is great for the Gold Coast economy, local businesses and jobs.

“That is why the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, is proud to continue supporting this event which brings one of the most exciting exhibition matches to the Gold Coast.”