Folau leads NRL All Stars voting

Israel Folau stands as the country’s number one pick for the NRL All Stars with just eight voting days left in stage one of the team selection.

Already 16,000 fans have cast their votes for the NRL All Stars by logging onto www.nrl.com/allstars.

The tally takes the overall number of votes cast across the two teams (the Indigenous All Stars team voting was decided in November) to 31,000 and rising.

Ticket sales for the Harvey Norman All Stars match have also reflected the public’s interest with only a handful of tickets left for the February 13 event at Skilled Park.

Stage one voting for the NRL All Stars has seen fans selecting their two preferred backs and preferred forwards from each of the 16 NRL Clubs.

Only one player from each team will be able to make the final sixteen as the selection rules require all clubs to be represented.

While Israel Folau still leads the overall tally there are four other players who have topped eight thousand votes so far including Penrith’s Michael Jennings.

The competition between team mates is underlined by the fact that remaining three players are Eels stars Fui Fui Moi Moi, Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh.

With stage one voting closing at midnight AEDT (11pm AEST) on December 26 there is still time for fans to give their favourite star something to celebrate for Christmas by including them in the final list of candidates for the All Stars team.

From January 3, fans will be told which positions coach Wayne Bennett wants the final sixty four to be considered for.

This will be published on nrl.com and fans will then have the task of selecting the final sixteen players to join the squad.

Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Cameron Smith and Adam Blair from the Australian and New Zealand sides have already received automatic selection in the twenty-man NRL All Stars team.

“Anyone who is selected in this side will feel especially proud to be chosen in a team that the fans have determined”, Darren Lockyer said today.

“We already know what an incredible line up of players we will be facing in the Indigenous team on February 13 next year. The fans have quite a task to deliver us a side that can challenge them.”

The player who scores the highest number of overall votes will become the first chosen in the sixteen publicly voted positions.

His selection will knock his club team mates out of contention for any of the other positions.

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.

Ticket sales for the game have been overwhelming with only corporate packages and single seats still available at this stage. Ticket enquiries can made through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au.