Game confirmed for Skilled Park
JOHNATHAN Thurston believes it will be on par with representing Australia.
Preston Campbell will celebrate it like a corroboree. And Benji Marshall just can't wait to play alongside his hero - Darren Lockyer.
The NRL's inaugural Indigenous All Stars match, against an NRL All Stars team selected by the public and coached by Wayne Bennett, will kick off the 2010 rugby league season.
The brainchild of Campbell and Gold Coast Titans CEO Michael Searle, the February 13 clash will be played at Skilled Park and mark the second anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generation.
Campbell captained the DreamTime team which defeated the NZ Maori in a World Cup curtain-raiser last year, and believed it meant so much to the Aboriginal community it should be repeated.
“I was so proud to put the jumper on last year and traditionally we don't do that stuff any more when you get together and celebrate (being aboriginal) and personally I look at it as a corroboree,” said Campbell, who will again captain his team.
“You do that with your own people but that's the way I see it as being with my people.”
Searle yesterday applauded the efforts of indigenous players for driving the concept which was embraced by the NRL and appears set to be an annual showcase.
North Queensland skipper Thurston, likely to partner Scott Prince in the halves, looked upon representing the Indigenous All Stars as big an honour as playing Test or Origin football.
“Equal to an Australian team, definitely,” he said.
Proceeds from the match go to community programs and grass-roots indigenous activities.
The public will vote on 16 vacant positions in both 20-man squads for the match, which will feature an unlimited interchange.