A magical tonight of Rugby League on the Gold Coast with the NRL All Stars going back-to-back with a 36-28 victory over the passionate Indigenous All Stars. But it was more than the victory tonight as this game highlights the wonders of the Indigenous community.
Whilst it was a game of new rules the classic League style was on display. The Indigenous banded together and started their role as Jharal Yew Yow marked his presence with a Wendell Sailor effort in the corner. After 6 minutes the NRL side trailed 6-0.
The Preston Campbell Medal winner Nathan Merritt was on show as his skills crafted the Indigenous two tries. The first came in the 18th minute with assistance off the boot of Chris Sandow to bring up a 12-0 lead.
A swing in possession and a penalty gave a chance for to NRL All Stars and Frank PritchardÂ capitalised. He crossed under the posts in the 25th minute to fight back 12-6.
One of the new rules on trial was the â€˜Power Play’ and it was used not to the ideal effect. Matt Bowen against the NRL All Stars’ power play managed a feat to jump off the Thurton kick to score. The Indigenous extended the lead to 12 points, 18-6 after 28 minutes.
Two quick tries before the half time break gave each side some confidence. Luke Lewis showed why he is a forced not to be reckoned with as he stepped into the line. Much like Bowen, Lewis scored against the Indigenous â€˜Power Play’.
The second before the siren saw a magical pass from Greg Bird which sent Merritt in for his second of the night. The scoreboard after 40 minutes in favour of the Indigenous 22-12.
Video Referee Tim Mander put his mark on the match come the 46th minute. Strong as a Bull Luke Bailey was awarded a barge over try to fire up the NRL All Stars 22-18.
The fight back continued with green lights spun up for Josh Dugan’s as the ball was juggled and grounded in goal. Mander gifted the NRL side the lead 24-22 after 50 minutes.
The NRL All Stars continued the points. 16 minutes until full time found Jack Reed’s added to the scoresheet as he went through the open created by Greg Inglis’ fumble. The NRL All Stars with an 8 point advantage with MarshallÂ marvelousÂ sideline conversion.
Down, but not out the Indigenous All Stars as Greg Inglis made up for his fumble with an injury causing try. Inglis on the end of a run around play to bring the Indigenous within 2 points thanks to Chris Sandow’s wonderful kick from the sideline.
The NRL captain in typical touch football style put his dummy run to the test to gift the smiling Manu Vatuvei his own points of the night. Marshall again from the touchline edged in the conversion. Vatuvei’s try sealed the victory for the second year in a row for the NRL All Stars 36-28.
The NRL All Stars may of won but again thanks to the little master’s, Preston Campbell’s idea the spotlight again was on the Indigenous community.
Indigenous All Stars 28 were defeated by NRL All Stars 36
All Stars 2012 – All Stars – Saturday February 4, 2012 8:00pm
Venue: Skilled Park, Gold Coast
Referee: Ashley Klein, Jason Robinson, Phil Haines and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Adam Reid and Ricky Macfarlane
Touch Judges: Tim Mander
Halftime: Indigenous All Stars 22 NRL All Stars 12
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points – Luke Lewis (1 Try)
2 Points – Paul Gallen
1 Point – Chris Sandow (1 Conversion)
Indigenous All Stars (28)
Tries: Jharal Yow Yeh, Nathan Merritt (2), Greg Inglis, Matthew Bowen
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/4), Chris Sandow (1/1)
NRL All Stars (36)
Tries: Manu Vatuvei, Luke Bailey, Josh Dugan, Jack Reed, Frank Pritchard, Luke Lewis
Conversions: Benji Marshall (6/6)