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Australian great and Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley says he supports the idea of an Indigenous side competing in future Rugby League World Cup tournaments provided it doesn't divide the current setup.

Daley, who was at the launch of the 2018 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League at Redfern Oval on Thursday, will take charge of the First Nation Goannas as part of the February 10 triple header.

When asked whether an Australian Indigenous side could become a World Cup reality, the former NSW Blues mentor believes players could be eligible for the team if not selected for the Kangaroos. 

"It's something that has been spoken about," Daley said.

"You don't want to create divisions in terms of representing Australia at the highest level and having the Indigenous team. 

"But, maybe if you have a selection of everyone all-in for the Australian team, and then the people who haven't been selected, if the numbers are there to make up the Indigenous All Stars side, then why not? 

"We've seen the interest that [Jason] Taumalolo and [Andrew] Fifita have created by pledging their allegiance to Tonga. But having said that as Australians we are all one. We need to be mindful of that."

With the annual NRL All Stars clash on hiatus for 2018 due to the World Cup, the Goannas will take on a New Zealand Maori side coached by former Eels forward Mark Horo.  

"I think it's great that we can showcase some of the future Indigenous and Maori stars in our game," Daley said.  

"I was part of the process in 2014 with [the] Goannas side. It was a great thrill for the guys to come into camp and learn some of the values. And to top it off with a game of football was great."

Canterbury centre Brenko Lee is a graduate from the 2014 fixture, having gone from being an 18-year-old in the pre-season fixture to later debuting for the Canberra Raiders. 

"And that's the great thing about it," Daley said.

"That you get to see players that you may not get to see playing at NRL level. They're all up-and-coming stars. 

"A lot of the boys will come from the carnivals and the Intrust Super competitions through the under-20s system that may not have the opportunity to be picked up by an NRL club.

"As we've seen at this year's World Cup, some of the guys that weren't particularly known have made stars of themselves."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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