WORLD TEAM WINS ALL STARS
By Andrew Pelechaty
The World All-Stars have won their first NRL All Stars match, beating the Indigenous All Stars 12-8 at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
With big name players pulling out before the game, there were concerns the All Stars fixture had lost its relevance. Those fears were temporarily put aside in a close match infront of over 37,000.
After a deadlocked first quarter, Konrad Hurrell opened the scoring on the 31st minute for the World All Stars. Leilani Latu tied the scores just before halftime.
The World All-Stars dominated the third quarter with Semi Radradra scoring just after halftime. A penalty goal to Adam Reynolds extended the lead to 12-4 with 25 minutes left.
Dane Gagai set up an exciting finish early in the first quarter, closing the Indigenous All Stars’ deficit to four points.
Errors let down the Indigenous All Stars, completing 21 of 34 sets (compared to the World All-Stars’ 30/39) and making 12 errors to six.
James Graham won the Preston Campbell Medal for best player.
There was some concern for the Indigenous All Stars’ Jack Wighton, who left the field with concussion.
The decision to substitute a World All Stars team for the NRL All-Stars seemed justified, with eleven players from New Zealand (Martin Taupau, Jordan Kahu, Jeremy Smith), England (Graham, Gareth Widdop, Tom Burgess) Fiji (Radradra, Kane Evans), Samoa (Matthew Wright), PNG (Nene Macdonald) and Tonga (Hurrell), joining the nine Aussies in the squad. In a unique touch, the country’s flag were displayed on the players’s numbers with their club logo on the neck of every player’s jersey.
Earlier the World All Stars comfortably beat the Indigenous All Stars 24-4 in the women’s fixture.