All Stars endorse Gold Coast home
Indigenous All Stars captain Johnathan Thurston has urged Gold Coast rugby league fans to once again pack out Cbus Super Stadium on Friday night amid concerns at the number of tickets sold just days out from the event.
Both the Indigenous and NRL All Stars teams gathered on the Gold Coast over the weekend amid reports that only 10,000 tickets had been pre-sold to the game on Friday night that will boast under-16s, women's and touch football games as curtain-raisers.
In excess of 25,000 people have attended each of the three All Stars games played on the Gold Coast since its inception in 2010 and Thurston remains confident that the birthplace of the All Stars concept will once again deliver a bumper crowd on Friday night.
"I think it is a great spot. I think ticket sales will pick up. It is a good stadium to have it at. I am expecting a massive crowd," Thurston said at the Indigenous Players Leadership Camp on Sunday.
"This concept is so different to anything else. Where do you get to see the NRL stars play alongside each other?
"This is the cream of the crop and this is the only concept that can provide that."
Newly installed South Sydney skipper Greg Inglis was excited to be back in camp with the Indigenous All Stars team and to get his 2015 season underway, deflecting suggestions that the pre-season workload was too taxing on the game's elite.
Dragons recruit George Rose has played in every All Stars game to date and said that although other areas would welcome the opportunity to host the All Stars game, he is happy to see it remain on the Gold Coast.
"As long as I'm part of the team I don't mind where we're at," said Rose.
"A week on the Gold Coast is obviously great. It's a great spot up here, good weather and I think it's good for a lot of the crowd that travels in who can make a week of it on the Gold Coast.
"It would be very welcome down at WIN Stadium, I'm sure they'd love to have it down there but I'm sure they'd love to have it in most places.
"As it is, the Gold Coast is a great spot, I've got no complaints about coming here."
Having been rested from the pre-season calendar in 2014, the last time the All Stars match was played more than 41,000 people converged on Suncorp Stadium and it is slated to once again be played in Queensland in 2016.
Whether that is on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane may yet depend on the final crowd tally at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday night.