PREVIEW – Indigenous All Stars v New Zealand Maori All Stars

As a massive fan of the great game of rugby league, Preston Campbell was a god. Short in stature but massive in heart: especially when it came to passion for the game and his people – the First People of our nation.
He created the Indigenous All Stars concept and tonight we will see the next evolution of the game when the New Zealand Maori All Stars play the Indigenous All Stars. The passion for what this game means and playing for their people will be on display for us all tonight come kickoff.

SQUAD NEWS

Indigenous All Stars

Bevan French (Eels), Blake Ferguson (Eels), James Roberts (Broncos), Latrell Mitchell (Roosters), Josh Addo-Carr (Storm), Cody Walker (captain – 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)
For this mob to win it will come down to the lads up front to match it with the brutal pack from our neighbours from across the Tasman. Speed is ample here in the form of Latrell, The Fox (Addo Carr) and Jimmy the Jet Roberts combining in the backline.
This pack has some insane talent which was shown throughout significant stats in the Telstra Premiership last season. Winger Blake Ferguson finished best for total and average metres with 4862 at 203 per game. Andrew Fifita’s 70 offloads were the second-best of all players while his 105 busts were the second-most of any forward.
When it comes to line breaks, Ferguson (19), Walker (18), Mitchell (17) and Addo-Carr (16) were all in the top 10 of the competition.

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 (captain – 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)
For the Māori boys to win here it will be a battle up front with Tamou, Proctor, Blair and Harris muscling to let the pack create scoring opportunities across the park. My only query is the questionably thrown together backline here: can they match the work done up front against a potent Indigenous spine?
Big game experience is strongly favouring this pack in this clash. In total the Indigenous squad has 33 Test caps shared among five players. The Māori team has a whopping 223 Test caps among 17 players.
Captain Adam Blair’s 47 Kiwi Test caps outnumber the entire Indigenous squad’s Test experience.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Friday 15 February
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 8pm (AEDST)

WHO WILL WIN?

This will be a huge clash and I can see total game points being 42+.
Indigenous All Stars by two to eight points.

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