Bennett reveals preferred All Stars spots

Seven-time premiership winning and NRL All Stars coach, Wayne Bennett, has issued his preferred positions for the 64 players shortlisted for Stage Two of NRL All Stars voting, which opens at Midday AEDT (11am in Queensland) tomorrow at www.nrl.com/allstars and remains open until January 27, 2011.

Bennett now hands control of the team over to rugby league fans who face the challenge of selecting 16 players from the shortlist of 64 to join Australian captain Darren Lockyer and New Zealand captain Benji Marshall in the NRL All Stars side.

More than 21,000 fans took up the opportunity to play the role of selector and voted in Stage One, however, Stage Two poses some difficult decisions for fans who must now select just one player from each of the 16 NRL clubs in this next stage.

Bennett, who will blog with the public selectors on the make-up of the team on January 5 at Midday AEDT on www.nrl.com, said today: “I am asking the fans to think like a coach when they place each of the players into position and it isn’t going to be easy.

“I have said before that I will be starting Darren Lockyer at five-eighth and Benji Marshall at halfback, so I will be looking for players who can cover multiple positions.

“Someone like Todd Carney is a great utility player so I am glad that he has rated well in the first round of voting and I have made no secret of the fact that I want to see Cameron Smith as hooker.

“This is a game that all of the players will embrace and I hope we get the same spectacle as we did last year.”

Carney rated highest in the Roosters' voting for Stage One and says he is keen to be a part of the match.

“I'd love to be part of this team and it would mean a lot to me to know the fans had voted me in,” Carney said.

“You just have to look at some of the players up for selection to know any player in the NRL would want to be part of this squad.

“I really hope the public votes for me and I get the chance to take the field with the game's best players - it would be an incredible match to be part of.”

Bennett has assigned the following positions to the 64 shortlisted players:

Backs have been divided into three separate groups:
- Fullback – Specialist role
- Outside back – Includes centres and wings
- Inside back – A player who can play five-eighth or halfback

Forwards have also been 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.

Bennett is also asking the fans to consider:
- 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.

Two players on the seven-man bench will be selected by NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett at the completion of Stage Two voting.

Brisbane Broncos
Corey Parker - Edge Forward
Ben Hannant - Tight Forward
Alex Glenn - Outside Back
Ben Hunt - Utility, Hooker, Inside Back

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Greg Eastwood - Tight Forward
Frank Pritchard - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Bryson Goodwin - Outside Back
Ben Roberts - Inside Back

Canberra Raiders
David Shillington - Tight Forward
Bronson Harrison - Edge Forward
Josh Dugan - Fullback
Jarrod Croker - Outside Back

Cronulla Sharks
Paul Gallen - Tight forward
Jeremy Smith - Edge forward, Tight forward
Nathan Gardner - Fullback
Colin Best - Outside Back

Gold Coast Titans
Ashley Harrison - Edge Forward
Mark Minichiello - Tight Forward
Kevin Gordon - Outside Back
William Zillman - Fullback

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Anthony Watmough - Edge Forward
Brent Kite - Tight Forward
Jamie Lyon - Outside Back, Inside Back
Tony Williams - Outside Back

Melbourne Storm
Cameron Smith - Hooker
Adam Blair - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Cooper Cronk - Inside Back
Chase Stanley - Outside Back

Newcastle Knights
Neville Costigan - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Zeb Taia - Tight Forward
Akuila Uate - Outside Back
Kurt Gidley - Utility

North Queensland Cowboys
Dallas Johnson - Edge Forward
Matthew Scott - Tight Forward
Antonio Winterstein - Outside Back
Ashley Graham - Outside Back

Parramatta Eels
Nathan Hindmarsh - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Tim Mannah - Tight Forward
Jarryd Hayne - Fullback
Luke Burt - Outside Back

Penrith Panthers
Luke Lewis - Edge Forward, Utility
Petero Civoniceva - Tight Forward
Michael Jennings - Outside Back
Michael Gordon - Outside Back

St George Illawarra Dragons
Ben Creagh - Edge Forward
Dean Young - Utility, Hooker
Darius Boyd - Fullback
Brett Morris - Outside Back

South Sydney Rabbitohs
Dave Taylor - Edge Forward, Tight Forward
Roy Asotasi - Tight Forward
Fetuli Talanoa - Outside Back
Junior Vaivai - Outside Back

Sydney Roosters
Nate Myles - Tight Forward
Braith Anasta - Inside Back, Utility
Todd Carney - Inside Back, Utility
Shaun Kenny-Dowall - Outside Back

New Zealand Warriors
Feleti Mateo - Edge Forward
Simon Mannering - Edge Forward
Lance Hohaia - Fullback, Utility
Manu Vatuvei - Outside Back

Wests Tigers
Gareth Ellis - Edge Forward
Robbie Farah - Hooker
Lote Tuqiri - Outside Back
Chris Lawrence - Outside Back

Overview of NRL All Stars voting:
- 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.
- Once a player from one club is placed in the team, no other player from that club can be chosen.
- 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.
- The Australian and New Zealand captains are automatically included in the team.
- At the end of Stage Two voting, the coach selects from shortlisted players still available, the two remaining players to complete the 20-man squad.

Less than 2,000 tickets are available for the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars to be played at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on February 12, 2011.

Tickets are available through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au

New Zealand customers can call 0800 842 538 or +61 132 849.