All Stars Stage Two voting starts today!

Stage Two voting for the NRL All Stars commences at 9am AEDT today (8am in Queensland) with fans facing some of the most challenging selection problems any coach could encounter.

With only one player from each club able to earn a place in the sixteen publicly voted positions, fans face some heart-breaking decisions in who they leave out of their team.

Fans have from today until midnight (AEDT) on January, 29, 2010, (11pm in Queensland) to vote through www.nrl.com/allstars.

Internationals Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Cameron Smith and Adam Blair, are already in the twenty man squad with NRL All Stars Coach Wayne Bennett declaring Lockyer at five-eighth, Marshall at half, Smith at hooker and Blair in the front row.

Giving some insight into the task that the fans now face, Wayne Bennett has commented on the challenge ahead of the selectors, with even superstar Jarryd Hayne not guaranteed a start.

“He may not make it,” Bennett told his assistant coach Brad Fittler in an interview on www.nrl.com.

“That is the frightening part about part about it.

“That is not is being biased against him [Jarryd Hayne], but as you try and work it out and get the best team you’ve got Fuifui Moimoi and you’ve got Nathan Hindmarsh there that are going to poll hugely and we can only take one out of that club [Parramatta Eels].

“It is going to be tough.”

The full interview can be viewed online today at www.nrl.com.

Bennett has divided the 64 player shortlisted during the first stage of voting into position, and in a first for the coach he now hands over the reins to the selectors, the fans.

The coach has divided the backs into three groups:
- Fullback – Specialist role
- Outside Back – Includes centres and wings
- Inside Back – A player who can play five-eighth or halfback

Forwards are also 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

The coach wants at least three tight forwards in the starting line-up

The Coach’s remaining notes are:
- 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

The public now faces the testing task of narrowing down the 64 players to just sixteen, choosing at least one player from every NRL club.

They will join the four internationals, Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Cameron Smith, and Adam Blair who have already been named in the in the first ever twenty man NRL All-Stars squad.

Bennett has already designated Lockyer at five-eighth, Marshall at half, Smith at hooker and Blair in the front row.

The coach has spoken of his excitement at the prospect of having both Marshall and Lockyer in the same jersey:

“One of the exciting things to me is that they can all play together for the first time in their careers.

“I spoke to Benji recently and I’ve got to say that he was so excited about the fact that he would be playing with Lockyer and I know that Lockyer is excited about getting to play with him.

“Just those two alone, I just want to spend a week with them and enjoy their company and watch them play football.”

A full interview between Wayne Bennett and Brad Fitler on the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars can be viewed online tomorrow at www.nrl.com tomorrow (January 4).

Wayne Bennett’s nominated positions for the 64-shortlisted NRL All Stars contenders are:

Club

Name

Position/s

Brisbane Broncos

Corey Parker

Edge Forward

Nick Kenny

Tight Forward

Israel Folau

Outside Back

Peter Wallace

Inside Back

Canberra Raiders

Alan Tongue

Edge Forward, Utility

David Shillington

Tight Forward

Terry Campese

Inside Back

Joel Monaghan

Outside Back

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

Michael Ennis

Hooker

David Stagg

Edge Forward

Josh Morris

Outside Back

Luke Patten

Fullback

Cronulla Sharks

Anthony Tupou

Edge Forward

Luke Douglas

Tight Forward

Trent Barrett

Inside Back

Luke Covell

Outside Back

Gold Coast Titans

Anthony Laffranchi

Edge Forward

Luke Bailey

Tight Forward

Mat Rogers

Utility, Inside Back

Ashley Harrison

Edge Forward

Manly Sea Eagles

Anthony Watmough

Edge Forward

Glenn Stewart

Edge Forward

Michael Robertson

Outside Back

Kieran Foran

Inside Back, Utility

Melbourne Storm

Ryan Hoffman

Edge Forward

Aiden Tolman

Tight Forward

Billy Slater

Fullback

Brett Finch

Inside Back

Newcastle Knights

Ben Cross

Tight Forward

Chris Houston

Edge Forward

Kurt Gidley

Fullback, Utility

Jarrod Mullen

Inside Back

North Queensland Cowboys

Luke O’Donnell

Edge Forward

Antonio Kaufusi

Tight Forward

Ashley Graham

Outside Back

Josh Williams

Outside Back

Parramatta Eels

Fuifui Moimoi

Tight Forward

Nathan Hindmarsh

Edge Forward, Tight Forward

Jarryd Hayne

Outside Back, Fullback

Feleti Mateo

Inside Back, Utility

Penrith Panthers

Petero Civoniceva

Tight Forward

Frank Pritchard

Edge Forward

Michael Jennings

Outside Back

Luke Lewis

Edge Forward, Utility

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Dave Taylor

Edge Forward

Isaac Luke

Hooker

Fetuli Talanoa

Outside Back

Colin Best

Outside Back

St George Illawarra Dragons

Ben Creagh

Edge Forward

Jeremy Smith

Tight Forward, Edge Forward

Matt Cooper

Outside Back

Darius Boyd

Outside Back, Fullback

Sydney Roosters

Nate Myles

Tight Forward

Jason Ryles

Tight Forward

Anthony Minichiello

Fullback

Mitchell Pearce

Inside Back

New Zealand Warriors

Micheal Luck

Edge Forward

Sam Rapira

Tight Forward

Manu Vatuvei

Outside Back

Simon Mannering

Edge Forward

Wests Tigers

Gareth Ellis

Edge Forward

Robbie Farah

Hooker

Chris Lawrence

Outside Back

Tim Moltzen

Fullback, Utility

The first player selected in the NRL All Stars team public vote will be the representative who receives the highest overall number votes for a single position. His selection will mean that no other player from that representative’s club will be eligible to make the side. The next player selected will have recorded the second highest number of overall votes for a single position ….and so on.

If a player is unable to play due to injury, he will be replaced by someone from the bench.

The bench spot will then be filled by another player from the injured player’s club – 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.

There are only a handful of remaining tickets, including corporate packages and single seats. Ticket enquiries can made through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au.