Wendell Sailor celebrates a try in the 2010 All Stars game.

Corner post. Didgeridoo.

With those three words you don't have to add anything to identify what's on my mind this week.

It is the 36 seconds (I got that stat from the YouTube video) of pure pleasure for every rugby league fan, but particularly for anyone with indigenous heritage.

It was spontaneous and spine tingling. And it's one of the best moments of our game, in my opinion.

Thank goodness for Wendell Sailor's off-the-cuff nature is all I can say.

Although in 2010 after he scored the first try in the first Indigenous v NRL All Stars match, he credited teammate Johnathan Thurston with the idea.

"I remember being a kid seeing one of the McGuinness [Kevin] boys do it in a game," Thurston told NRL.com of how he came to plan the celebration.

Wendell Sailor scores in the 2010 All Stars game.
Wendell Sailor scores in the 2010 All Stars game. ©NRL Photos

"So while we were warming up in the sheds, I said to Dell 'If you score a try, grab the corner post, play it like a didgeridoo and we'll do the corroboree beside you'.

"I don't think we told anyone else but all the boys jumped in anyway."

They did indeed. As soon as Sailor starts improvising, Preston Campbell, Blake Ferguson and Thurston were first on the scene to begin dancing.

Wendell Sailor's famous try celebration in the 2010 All Stars game.
Wendell Sailor's famous try celebration in the 2010 All Stars game. ©NRL Photos

And on Friday night at AAMI Park the NRL Harvey Norman Indigenous All Stars  are back.

There's been an absence of two years, due to scheduling issues. The last game was a commanding 34-8 victory over the World All Stars in Newcastle in 2017.

This time the Indigenous team faces the New Zealand Maori and the pre-game cultural war cries will be worth the price of admission alone.

In Newcastle, who can forget Greg Inglis rising from a circle of his teammates like a kangaroo poking his head above the long grass, as they began their 'war dance'.

Greg Inglis and the Indigenous All Stars at the 2015 All Stars game.
Greg Inglis and the Indigenous All Stars at the 2015 All Stars game. ©NRL Photos

Thurston was in that circle but in Melbourne two of the biggest Indigenous stars in rugby league won't be on the field.

Inglis is injured and Thurston has retired, which begs the question of who might pick up their mantle?

"Latrell [Mitchell] has a big future in front of him. He's got some good people around him and he's matured a lot over the last couple of years," Thurston said.

Mitchell was given permission from the Roosters to skip the World Club Challenge commitments against Wigan so he could play in the Indigenous team.

"Ryan James is passionate about his culture and things he does in the community," Thurston added.

"He could certainly step up as he's been very unlucky not to have played State of Origin over the past few years. I'm a big fan of his."

James (knee) has had to withdraw from the Indigenous game due to injury but since he's just 27 – not so old in league terms any more – he has plenty of years left to represent his people.

Of course, in essence that 2010 game wasn't the first Indigenous team of NRL players.

There was an 'Indigenous Dreamtime' team that played in the 2008 World Cup against a NZ Maori team.

Preston Campbell played halfback then and two years later he was fullback and captain of the inaugural 'Indigenous All Stars' side.

There have been seven games named in total.

Proud Wiradjuri man Laurie Daley has coached six of them and that first one in 2010 was former Raiders, Cowboys and Titans coach, Neil Henry.

Thurston rates the post-try didgeridoo celebration as one of the most poignant moments of his star-studded career that included Dally M medals, World Cup and Origin wins and a premiership.

"Definitely. It was a really significant moment in my life that match in 2010," he told NRL.com.

"In the lead-up we did an exercise with Chris Sarra where he said 'If you know much about your family history stand at this end of the room. If you don't know much, stand at the other end of the room, and stand in between where you think you belong'.

"I went down to the far end of the room. I didn't know much.

"So after that I rang Mum to find out more and she put me onto my uncle Mark and then to my grandfather, another three uncles and about a dozen cousins down in the Mitchell area [in southern Queensland]… the Gunggari people.

"I spent a weekend out there with my grandfather to meet family and hear the stories.

"I am so glad I now have that connection to the land my ancestors were from.

"I'm extremely proud of my heritage and my culture. I've been fortunate enough to be given a history less of our culture and what it has endured but continues to take its place to this day.

"There are challenges we are still facing but we are survivors."

If he was still playing in the Indigenous jersey on Friday, the one player Thurston would not want to face in the Maori said is former Storm, Tigers, Broncos and now Warriors forward Adam Blair.

"Blairy … scary. He's one of the leaders of any team he plays in. He always comes out hard and is right up front in everything he does."

2019 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars teams

Indigenous All Stars

Bevan French (Eels); Blake Ferguson (Eels), James Roberts (Broncos), Latrell Mitchell (Roosters), Josh Addo-Carr (Storm); Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), Tyrone Roberts (Titans); Andrew Fifita (Sharks), Nathan Peats (Titans), Josh Kerr (Dragons), David Fifita (Broncos), Adam Elliott (Bulldogs), Tyrone Peachey (Titans). Interchange: Will Chambers (Storm), Leilani Latu (Titans), Chris Smith (Bulldogs), Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs), Jesse Ramien (Knights), Tyrell Fuimaono (Panthers), Kotoni Staggs (Broncos).

New Zealand Māori All Stars

Peta Hiku (Warriors); Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs), Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Dean Whare (Panthers), Jordan Kahu (Broncos); Kalyn Ponga (Knights), Jahrome Hughes (Storm); Jesse Bromwich (Storm), Brandon Smith (Storm), James Tamou (Panthers), Kevin Proctor (Titans), Tohu Harris (Warriors), Adam Blair (Warriors). Interchange:Danny Levi (Knights), Brad Takairangi (Eels), James Fisher-Harris (Panthers),  Gerard Beale (Warriors), Corey Harawira-Naera (Bulldogs), Joseph Tapine (Raiders), Kenny Bromwich (Cowboys).

 

To purchase tickets, head to www.nrl.com/tickets

For flights, accommodation and tickets to visit Melbourne and attend the matches, head to www.nrl.com/travel