Rugby League All Stars: Five key points
Inglis sends a warning, Barba warming up and when taking the two is the wrong thing to do. The key talking points to come from the World All Stars' 12-8 win over the Indigenous All Stars.
Menacing Inglis sends a warning
With a right-arm fend that sent World All Stars prop James Graham sprawling to the Suncorp Stadium turf Greg Inglis displayed not only what the captaincy of the Indigenous All Stars team meant to him but what a frightening prospect he is in full flight. When Will Smith pinched possession 20 metres out from his own line Inglis pushed his way into dummy-half from the next play to take a further 30 metres for his team, pushing past a World All Stars defence too much on the back foot to be able to contain him. The famous fend claimed another victim in Jeremy Smith late in the game but as much as he tried to assert himself he was unable to come up with the play that would have earned his side a win. He cut a disappointed figure at full-time but there would have been plenty of big smiles back at Redfern.
"To lead the boys out means a lot to me and the whole family," he told Channel Nine after the game. "I said to the boys [before kick-off] to play with pride and to remember who we were representing."
As for a knock to the knee he copped late in the game, Inglis allayed any fears of a recurrence of any serious injury: "Souths fans and the club, I'm all good to go."
Trial for new rules, bunker system
On the opening night of the revolutionary video review bunker system, it was first called into use at the All Stars game for a possible try to Kane Evans in the 18th minute of the first quarter, the 'no try' decision delivered one minute and 14 seconds after being sent for review from referee Matt Cecchin. In the 33rd minute Konrad Hurrell jumped from the left corner claiming the first four-pointer of the game, the bunker confirming its validity after one minute and 40 seconds of review live from Eveleigh. When the bunker is put into place for Round 1 fans will be taken inside the room to hear the process as it happens along with the corresponding video replays in a similar fashion to how third umpires review decisions in cricket, along with a detailed review of the decision after it is handed down which will provide an exciting new element to the coverage.
Both teams managed to get to scrums and take drop-outs without incurring the wrath of the 30-second shot clock but World All Stars back-rower Martin Taupau had the ignominy of being the first and only player penalised for not playing the ball correctly midway through the second quarter.
Positive signs for Barba revival
It was a long way short of his three-try effort in this corresponding fixture three years ago but for the first time since then Ben Barba is promising to rediscover his Dally M Medal-winning form of 2012. On the back of some very encouraging touches at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines, Barba confessed to being quiet in the first quarter but the more he injected himself into the play, the more dangerous the Indigenous All Stars team looked. A bullet pass almost put Jack Wighton over in the corner in the third quarter and then in the final 10 minutes he put Wade Graham into a hole and on a run into the back-field, his Sharks teammate inexplicably kicking rather than picking up Barba who was looming on his inside. Looking leaner and faster than he has since his life temporarily spiralled out of control three years ago, Barba is making an irresistible case to be Cronulla's starting fullback against the Cowboys in Round 1.
Mixed game for Roberts at new home
Making his home debut at Suncorp Stadium new Bronco James Roberts was front and centre from prior to kick-off when he and cousin Tyrone Roberts started the ceremonial war dance and then saw early ball in the opening minutes as the Indigenous team looked to exploit his blistering speed. He copped a heavy knock from Semi Radradra flying in off his wing and spilt a sharp pass from Greg Inglis late in the second quarter and just when it appeared he would score his team's first try Leilani Latu turned up out of nowhere to pinch his 'meat pie'. Jarrod Croker got on his outside to put Radradra over in the opening minutes of the second half and even though he threatened to come up with a customary incision in the World All Stars defence they had the answers on each occasion.
When you shouldn't take the two
Four minutes before the break at the end of the third quarter the World All Stars took a successful shot at penalty goal that gave them an eight-point advantage. It's smart rugby league for 30 weeks of the year but when more than 37,000 people have turned out to watch they anticipate will be a spectacle of entertaining a rugby league, 'taking the two' is about as popular as the person in front at the ATM who decides the time is right to do their weekly banking. Or perhaps it simply proves that 19 NRL stars assembled for an exhibition match want to do only one thing: Win.