Indigenous All Stars player Justin Hodges and All Stars representative Nate Myles joined forces on the Gold Coast to launch the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match.
Tickets for the event are now on sale to the general public, starting at $35 for adults and less than $100 for families. They can be purchased from ticketek.com.au/allstars.
The match returns to the rugby league calendar on February 13 at Cbus Super Stadium.
It features the best Indigenous players in the NRL against a team comprised of players chosen from each club by coach Wayne Bennett.
NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said fans would be treated to a festival of Indigenous Rugby League as part of this year’s All Stars event.
He said there would be four games played – including the first ever Harvey Norman Indigenous mixed touch football game.
The festival will also include live entertainment as well as an under-16s game and a women’s All Stars match.
“In other words, there will be something for everyone and it will be a full day’s entertainment,” Mr Greenberg said.
“We have seen some incredible contests over the years, but more than that, the All Stars concept is a wonderful celebration that rugby league should be proud of.”
Among those launching the All Stars festival were ARL Indigenous Council representative and Titans4Tomorrow Chairman Mr Josh Creamer, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Crown Resorts, Mr Rowen Craigie, and Executive Director Harvey Norman Holdings, Mr David Ackery.
They were on hand to see the launch of the jerseys for the 2015 Indigenous All Stars and NRL All Stars. The artwork selected for this year’s Indigenous All Stars jersey was designed by 17-year-old Chern’ee Sutton and is titled ‘Thapu Wani Watina’, meaning ‘Brothers Playing Side by Side’ in the Kalkadoon language.
Mr Craigie also announced a three-year partnership between the Crown Resorts Foundation and the Indigenous All Stars.
ARL Indigenous Chair the Hon Linda Burney said the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars had provided an outstanding contribution to the Indigenous community since it began in 2010.
“The All Stars event is a celebration of Indigenous excellence on and off the field. Since 2010, the profile of this event has grown significantly, raising more than $7 million, which has been invested back into Indigenous community programs,” Ms Burney said.
The Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars has been supported by Harvey Norman since 2010, and that partnership will continue until 2017.
Both teams will engage in school and community visits, the Youth Summit workshop, a Harvey Norman store appearance and signing sessions.
The top Queensland and NSW Indigenous players selected from the Annual State Indigenous Knockouts will set the pace on Thursday, 12 February with the Murri v Kurri Interstate Challenge.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and The Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars reinforced Queensland’s reputation as a premier sporting event destination.
“This event is a fantastic celebration of Australia’s many cultures, bringing league fans from across the country together in Queensland to experience the most exciting exhibition match in rugby league,” she said.
The NRL is also a proud partner of RECOGNISE, the movement to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and ensure it is free of racial discrimination.
Joint campaign director Tanya Hosch said the movement was delighted to see the ‘R’ logo feature on the Indigenous All Stars jerseys.
"So many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players have made NRL what it is today and they inspire Australians every week on the field,” she said.
“The Indigenous All Stars game recognises the huge contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players make to Rugby League.”
Fans are invited to vote online to select the 20-man Indigenous All Stars squad, coached by Laurie Daley, to play the Wayne Bennett-led All Stars.
To have your say please visit nrl.com/allstars. Voting will close on January 9, 2015, with teams announced on January 19, 2015.