“Think like me” Bennett tells NRL All stars voters

NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett has encouraged fans to think like him when voting for the 2011 NRL All Stars team which opens to the public at midday (AEDT) today, just 12 hours prior to the end of polling for the Indigenous team. <br><br>“My advice to the fans is to think a bit like the coach,” Bennett told his All Stars assistant coach Brad Fittler for NRL.com. <br><br>“They have to look at what players I like to coach. I’ve been doing this for a long time now so I’m pretty sure the fans know what I like. <br><br>“I was excited by that (concept) last year and in the end we pretty much got the team I would have picked anyway. I am optimistic they will get it right again.” <br><br>In this first round of NRL All Stars voting at <a href="http://www.nrl.com/repgames/allstarsvoting/tabid/10972/default.aspx"><strong>www.nrl.com/allstars</strong></a> which continues through until December 28, fans will be asked to select two backs and two forwards from each of the 16 NRL clubs to form a shortlist of 64 players. <br> <br>Bennett will then indicate which positions he wants each of the 64 players to be considered for, as well as outlining the make-up of the bench positions for the All Stars match to be played on February 12 at the Gold Coast. <br><br>In stage two of the NRL All Stars voting, the public will be given the challenge of selecting one player from each of the 16 NRL clubs. <br><br>The 16 players chosen by the fans will join Australian and New Zealand Test captains Darren Lockyer and Benji Marshall in the team, with Bennett and the NRL All Stars coaching staff then selecting the remaining two players to form the 20-man squad. <br><br>Bennett said the match between the NRL and Indigenous All Stars, held for the first time this year, was a “magnificent” concept. <br><br>“It was a success; there’s no doubt about it … more so than we all thought it would be,” he said. “It’s going to be a regular fixture which is great because there is a place for it. <br><br>“There was a line of thought that it is a trial game and a bit of fun. There was no fun out there … it was a hard game. The rules were great – the 20 players and unlimited interchange helped. <br><br>“I didn’t have one player complain about the week and wanting to be there.” <br><br>Bennett said the day at Dreamworld for the players and the Indigenous children, who were being rewarded for efforts in the workplace or at school was a “great moment” and the highlight of the week of celebrations and activities. <br><br>From a coaching perspective, Bennett enjoyed the time with all of his superstars but when asked by Fittler to identify a few players who really stood out he named Sam Burgess, Anthony Watmough and Brett Finch. <br><br>“I loved Sam Burgess being there,” Bennett said. “He had just arrived from England (and was a late call-up for an injured player). Someone was telling me a story recently that Sam said he would love to be in the All Stars again and they had to tell him it doesn’t work that way … you have to be voted in. <br><br>“Anthony Watmough was a lot of fun … he keeps you on your toes wondering what he’s up to. We bought Finchy in late in the week and he being the late call-up merchant and superstar that he is was a lot of fun to have around.” <br><br>Bennett said the biggest problem is that “all the players want to play” but there can only be one from each club (as decided by the public). <br><br><b>Overview of NRL All Stars voting:</b> <br>- 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. <br>- Once a player from one club is placed in the team, no other player from that club can be chosen. <br>- If a player withdraws from the team due to injury, he will be replaced by someone from the bench. <br>- 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. <br><br>Rugby League fans are also being reminded to secure their tickets for the 2011 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars, with less than 6,000 remaining. <br><br>Tickets are available through Ticketek outlets, on <strong>132 849</strong> or <a href="http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=ALLSTARS11"><strong>www.ticketek.com.au</strong></a>. New Zealand customers can call<strong> 0800 842 538</strong> or <strong>+61 132 849.</strong> <br> <br><b>2011 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars Ticket Categories and Prices <br> </b> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td width="20%"><div align="center"><strong>Category</strong></div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center"><strong>Adult</strong></div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center"><strong>Concession</strong></div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center"><strong>Junior</strong></div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center"><strong>Family</strong></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%"><div align="center">Category 1</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$95.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$75.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$65.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$255.00</div></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%"><div align="center">Category 2</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$60.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$45.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$35.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$155.00</div></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%"><div align="center">Category 3</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$30.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$25.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$20.00</div></td> <td width="20%"><div align="center">$80.00</div></td> </tr> </tbody></table> <b><br> </b>