All Stars date, venue revealed
The Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars will return to its birthplace on the Gold Coast with the NRL confirming that the match will be held at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday February 13, 2015.
NRL Head of Commercial Paul Kind said the NRL was delighted to announce the details for the match’s return to the rugby league calendar as part of a two-year commitment to stage the game in Queensland.
Fans are invited to vote online to select the 20-man Indigenous All Stars squad, to be coached by Laurie Daley, to play the Wayne Bennett-led All Stars. Voting will be available at allstars.nrl.com from midday on Monday December 1. Voting for the Indigenous All Stars will close on January 9, 2015 with teams to be announced on January 19.
It is only a one-year return to the Gold Coast with the All Stars match to revert back to Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium in 2016 said Mr Kind.
"The Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars is a unique celebration of the diversity of the game, and we are pleased to confirm that in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland the event will be held on the Gold Coast next year and in Brisbane in 2016," Mr Kind said.
"Harvey Norman, who have supported this event since its conception in 2010, will also extend their partnership for another three years. It is fantastic that we can continue to work with them to keep growing this event for the Rugby League community."
Johnathan Thurston, 2013 Indigenous All Stars captain and a member of the Indigenous players' leadership group said the return of the All Stars game reaches far deeper than the 34 players who take to the field.
"I am really thrilled to see the return of the Harvey Norman All Stars to the Gold Coast next year. I have some very fond memories from the previous games and camps there and I can’t wait to go back," Thurston said.
"Not only does the All Stars concept provide an exciting game for everyone to watch at the start of a new rugby league season, it provides a deep sense of community and has a tremendous impact off the field.
"It gives our Indigenous players a special opportunity to celebrate our heritage with our people, families and friends.
"I feel privileged to be involved again and especially to have another opportunity to lead the Indigenous All Stars side. That’s a huge honour that I will cherish."
Since the All Stars concept was introduced in 2010, profits from the match have been invested in Indigenous community programs including mentoring sessions, workshops, cultural activities, assistance with learning, behaviour and attendance, self-esteem, leadership, communication and social skills.
The 2015 event will begin with a mixed Touch Football match, which will be followed by a display of the best in women’s rugby league when the women’s All Stars take on the women’s Indigenous All Stars. The NSW and Queensland under-16s will then play the curtain-raiser before the main match kicks off at 7.30pm.
A host of community-based events will be organised by the NRL’s One Community program in celebration of the All Stars event.