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Indigenous All Stars women's coach Ben Jeffries is looking to restore some belief in the side as they look to make amends following a 24-0 loss to the Māori Ferns last year.

Jeffries returns to the coaching role after a 12-month hiatus with eight players remaining from last year's squad, seven of whom were part of his successful 2020 campaign.

The Indigenous side features five debutantes including Broncos star Tamika Upton and Knights playmaker Kirra Dibb.

"We made some strides in 2020 I believe and the result itself showed it," Jeffries told NRL.com.

"We had a lot of accountability in the jersey that week and what they stood for so we'll try and re-instate that.

"In the end, you're there to win a game but there are some other things inside that.

"Some girls are starting their journey in being identified as Indigenous too, someone like Kirra Dibb, who has been on that journey for several years now.

Indigenous All Stars coach Ben Jeffries.
Indigenous All Stars coach Ben Jeffries. ©NRL Photos

"We want to establish that accountability and what it means around the whole culture going forward.

"It's going to be a younger team than last year but what that brings is enthusiasm and energy so we're pretty happy with the side we have picked.

"There are plenty of potential leaders in this group. I want them to enjoy the week and bond. If they do that they'll more than likely come up with a result they want."

The fixture acts as an important milestone for the women's Indigenous All Stars side as they notch their 10th year since the concept began in 2011.

Match Highlights: Indigenous All Stars v Maori Ferns, 2020

Six matches were played between the Indigenous side and World All Stars before the Māori Ferns were introduced in 2019.

"Some of our players have gone onto higher honours and that's what we're trying to strive for with this group and future groups to come," Jeffries said.

"We want to have as many of our girls go onto play State of Origin or the Jillaroos."

Two members of Jeffries' squad – Rhiannon Revell-Blair and Sarah Field – are without deals for the upcoming NRL Telstra Women's Premiership but the coach believed it wasn't far away for the North Queensland products.

"I can see them both playing NRLW at some point, especially if the Cowboys get a side in the next couple of years," he said.

"They're worthy of a contract and are both really young so are still learning the game."

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Jeffries was equally as excited to get the chance to work with proud Baradha woman, Upton, after a couple of false starts in recent years.

"It's funny you have debutant next to her name… she booked a holiday in 2020 when I wanted to pick her," he said.

"She didn't expect to get picked but thankfully we were able to get her this year. She'll be enormous for the side and give everyone a huge boost."

Acknowledgement of Country

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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