Preston Campbell, Wendell Sailor, Jamal Idris, Scott Prince, Nathan Merritt, Jamie Soward, Greg Bird, Ben Barba and Jharal Yow Yeh are among the 'Learn. Earn. Legend!' Indigenous All Stars set to tackle cricket's next generation of Indigenous stars in a landmark charity match at the SCG on Thursday night.
The first all-Indigenous match on an international cricket ground, the inaugural Jack Marsh Cup - named in honour of the Bundjalung man renowned as the fastest bowler of cricket's Golden Age - will feature a 20-20 match between current and former Indigenous NRL stars and an Australian Indigenous team largely drawn from the Cricket Australia National Indigenous Under 23 Development Squad.
The historic match will take place on the first evening of the Primary Club of Australia's two-day 'Marathon Cricket' festival, a series of matches played by club and corporate teams to raise funds for to provide sporting and recreational equipment and facilities for people with disabilities.
'Learn. Earn. Legend!' Ambassador Scott Prince has praised the concept, saying that it provided another platform to encourage children to stay at school, pursue a career and become a legend in their chosen field.
"It is great to join another sport in promoting these key messages to kids while at the same time helping a worthy charity like the Primary Club that does so much to help disadvantaged kids," Prince said.
"It will also be great to meet and mix with these young Indigenous cricketers who are pursuing their personal sporting dream and hopefully we can develop a mentoring relationship that will help them adjust to the demands of professional sport."
Captain of the 'Learn. Earn. Legend!' NRL Indigenous All Stars, Preston Campbell, was buzzing at the prospect of playing at the SCG.
"Some of the boys rate themselves as cricketers so it will be interesting to see how we go playing on the Test strip," he said.
"The boys are excited about the concept and it will be a great lead-in to the All Stars match at the Gold Coast in February.
"It'll be great to meet the young cricketers and hear their stories as well as hosting the Indigenous kids who will be at the match.
Primary Club of Australia patron Richie Benaud said the charity has raised and distributed over $3 million since 1974, including $100,000 following the success of last year's successful inaugural event at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"The Jack Marsh Cup is a wonderful opportunity for our young Indigenous cricketers to demonstrate their skills on the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Primary Club has shown leadership and vision to create this event and carry on the recent good work of Cricket Australia to promote Indigenous cricket," he said.
President of the Primary Club and respected ABC cricket commentator Jim Maxwell added: "The Jack Marsh Cup is a wonderful opportunity for young Indigenous cricketers to show their talent and test their nerve on the greatest cricketing stage in Australia."
The match will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1960/61 Australia v West Indies series, when Richie Benaud and Sir Frank Worrell famously aimed to play "attacking cricket" and break down racial and cultural barriers in a nation experiencing the last throes of the White Australia policy. The Jack Marsh Cup honours the legacy of cricket as an instrument for beneficial social change and improvement.
The 'Learn. Earn. Legend!' NRL stars will wear a playing shirt similar in design to their Indigenous All-Stars jersey while the Australian Indigenous Team will wear a reproduction of the distinguished 1868 Maroon and white sash worn by the first Indigenous Australian touring team to England.
The match will form the start of a mentoring partnership between the NRL's Indigenous stars and the young, largely unknown Indigenous cricketers from the Imparja Cup. The NRL will supervise the mentoring sessions between the sportsmen from the two codes as an ongoing and productive relationship, leading to the eventual 'pairing up' of NRL players with their cricket counterparts for mentoring purposes.
'Learn. Earn. Legend!' is a Federal Government initiative aimed at encouraging young Indigenous Australians to stay at school and ensure a pathway to employment so they achieve their dreams.
Australian music star Jessica Mauboy will perform before the match starts at 6.30pm, with Tickets ($12.50, $25 for a family of four, children under 6 free) available now from Ticketek.
Less than 1500 tickets are still 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.