Indigenous All Stars voting heating up
Voting for next year's Indigenous All Stars is heating up with a number of stars battling it out for selection in Laurie Daley's side with the polls set to close at 3pm on Friday.
The All Stars clash is one of the most important events on the rugby league calendar with the ledger locked at three wins apiece following the World All Stars' 12-8 win at Suncorp Stadium earlier this year.
Next year's clash will be the first time the annual event has been played in Newcastle, with Knights star Dane Gagai duking it out with young-guns Latrell Mitchell and Bevan French for a spot in Laurie Daley's side.
Cowboys supremo Johnathan Thurston is leading the way with over 23,000 votes and is closely followed by Greg Inglis, Sam Thaiday and Wade Graham, but that could all change in the next couple of days.
Voters have been unable to decide whether Rabbitohs superstar Greg Inglis should be selected at fullback or in the centres, with the final decision set to have major ramifications on the final makeup of the side.
Fan-favourite Nathan Peats is injury-free for the first time in years and is on track to make his first Indigenous All Stars appearance since 2013.
Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley said he was looking forward to NSW hosting the game for the first time, and couldn't think of a better place than Newcastle for that to happen.
The Newcastle Knights took on the First Nation Goannas in a 2014 pre-season clash in front of over 6,000 fans, but that figure will be dwarfed when the All Stars come to town in 2017.
"I'm really excited about the game being played in Newcastle next year," Daley said.
"The Hunter region is a heartland for rugby league and you can tell the locals love their footy through their unwavering support of the Knights.
"It'll be a wonderful opportunity to promote the game and it's a chance for the players to get in touch with their Indigenous roots with the local community."