Chat live with Bennett!

NRL All Stars Coach Wayne Bennett will today break new ground by ‘blogging’ with selectors on www.nrl.com to discuss the make-up of his side to take on the Indigenous All Stars in the Harvey Norman All Stars match at Skilled Park on February 13.

The fans who will choose the team will have the chance to discuss their opinions directly with the six-time Premiership-winning coach in what promises to be one of the most watched blogs in Rugby League history.

From 12.30pm AEDT to 1pm AEDT (11.30am-12pm in Queensland), Bennett will offer his thoughts and opinions and give the public a rare opportunity to understand some of the challenges the game’s top coaches face.

With Stage Two voting underway from today until midnight AEDT on January 29, it is now up to the fans to determine which players will receive an inaugural NRL All Stars jersey.

In this stage of voting, fans must select one player from each of the 16 clubs to join Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Cameron Smith, and Adam Blair, who have already been named in the 20-man NRL All Stars squad.

So far 35,000 fans have sat in the selector’s chair – 17,000 voted for the Indigenous All Stars and 18,000 took part in Stage One of the NRL All Stars process.

As fans commence the voting process today, Bennett has made good on his promise to guide the public on the selection process and tomorrow fans will receive a first-hand insight into the mind of one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game.

Bennett has assigned each of the 64 short-listed players the position he wants the public to consider them for and players can only be voted for in one of their designated position/s.


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.