Fans have less than 48 hours left to lodge their vote for the first ever NRL All Stars team with a number of positions likely to remain in doubt all the way until tomorrow night’s (Thursday, January 28, 2010) deadline of midnight AEDT (11pm in Queensland).
More than 14,000 fans have logged onto www.nrl.com/allstars and taken up the challenge of registering their team yet, as final deadline approaches, only a handful of votes separate players in key positions.
NRL team-mates are going head-to-head in a race that can see only one player from each team selected in the final public vote.
On February 13, 2010, the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match will take place at Skilled Park with the NRL All Stars side to play the Indigenous All Stars side, captained by Preston Campbell.
NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett has been guiding fans along the way, meeting with the selectors in online blogs on www.nrl.com.
Bennett spoke last week about how impressed he has been with the judgment that the fans have delivered so far:
“I think the fans have done a great job.
“Since the final 64 were chosen I went through the exercise myself and when I saw this morning's update (January 21) 18 of the 20 players in the squad were ones I'd chosen.”
On one of the biggest conundrums still facing selectors – the battle between Eels stars Jarryd Hayne and Fuifui Moimoi - Bennett said:
“That's a tough one. I looked at my notes and I'd love both in the team - they are tough to split. But given the voting at the moment it looks as though Hayne is in which I'm sure will please lots of people. But if Fui made it, I'd be happy also.”
The sixteen publicly chosen NRL All Stars players will join the automatically selected Darren Lockyer, Benji Marshall, Cameron Smith and Adam Blair.
They will face some of the game’s leading playmakers who have already been announced in the indigenous team with Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Scott Prince, Wendell Sailor and Preston Campbell.