Mitchell, Marshall confirmed as All-Stars squads announced
Latrell Mitchell is set to play his first game of rugby league in almost six months on February 20 after being named in the Indigenous All-Stars squad, but will be on limited minutes for the clash in Townsville at the request of South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett.
It will be Mitchell’s first game since August 27 last year, when the Rabbitohs fullback suffered a serious hamstring injury in a match against Parramatta.
Alex Johnston has been named in at 14th man and will come off the bench into fullback to reduce the 23-year-old’s minutes.
“We know what Latrell is capable of doing and he certainly is a spiritual leader of this team,” Indigenous coach Laurie Daley said. “It’s so important to have good leaders, people who other people want to follow and they stand up for their beliefs and I think that’s great.”
Queensland superstar Kalyn Ponga missed out on the new-look Maori squad due to his shoulder injury. Ponga’s replacement Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is one of 11 changes for the Maori squad this year. Jarome Luai and Jahrome Hughes starting in the halves.
Maori coach David Kidwell confirmed Benji Marshall’s inclusion in the squad. The 35-year-old recently signed with the Rabbitohs for his final season in the NRL.
He will play alongside younger brother Jeremy Marshall-King with the duo set to come off the bench for the Maori side.
“I actually phoned him [Marshall] and just asked him would he like to represent the Indigenous Maori for this game, and just the excitement that came across the phone line from him,” Kidwell said. “He also gets the opportunity to play with his brother Jeremy, having that brother connection is really important.”
Daley named six changes in the Indigenous squad with Titans halfback Jamal Fogarty joining Cody Walker in the halves. Jack Wighton has been named in the centres after a breakout season in 2020.
After missing out on last year’s clash due to injury, Sharks prop Andrew Fifita will join cousin David Fifita this year in the squad alongside Cronulla skipper Wade Graham.
North Queensland hooker Reuben Cotter has replaced Newcastle star Connor Watson, who continues to struggle with an Achilles injury. Despite taking almost all season to get over the tryline, Blake Ferguson keeps his spot on the wing with Josh-Addo Carr named in the no. 5 jersey.
Last year’s game saw the Maori side earn a 30-16 victory over the Indigenous side.
The closure of the border between New Zealand and Australia has led to wholesale changes in the women’s squads, with just four players from last year returning in Townsville. Maori coach Rusty Matua was also unable to travel to Australia for the game. Keith Hanley will take over head coach duties.
INDIGENOUS ALL STARS
- Latrell Mitchell 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Jack Wighton 4. Jesse Ramien 5.Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cody Walker 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Reuben Cotter 10. Josh Kerr 11. David Fifita 12. Wade Graham 13. Tyrone Peachey 14. Alex Johnston 15. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 16. Cade Cust 17. Chris Smith 18. Tyrell Fuimaono 19. Josh Curran 20. Brian Kelly
MAORI ALL STARS
- Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2.Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Joseph Manu 4. Dylan Walker 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jarome Luai 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10.James Fisher-Harris 11. Briton Nikora 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Kevin Proctor 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Jordan Riki 18. Patrick Herbert 19. Bailey Simonsson 20. Benji Marshall
INDIGENOUS ALL STARS WOMEN
- Jaime Chapman 2. Taleena Simon 3. Monique Donovan 4. Jasmine Peters 5. Leticia Quinlan 6. Taliah Fuimaono 7. Akira Kelly 8. Kaitlyn Phillips 9. Quincy Dodd 10. Caitlan Johnston 11. Shaniah Power 12. Shaylee Bent 13. Tallisha Harden 14. Lailee Phillips 15. Keilee Joseph 16. Olivia Kernick 17. Adelee Stanley 18. Ngalika Barker
MAORI ALL STARS WOMEN
- Corban McGregor 2. Botille Vette-Walsh 3. Amy Turner 4. Hayley Tipene 5. Jodeci Nicholson 6. Zahara Temara 7. Crystal Tamarua 8. Nita Maynard 9. Kennedy Cherrington 10. Mya Hill-Moana 11. Zali Eve Fay 12. Rona Peters 13. Lavinia Gould 14. Shannon Mato 15. Raecene McGregor 16. Roxy Murdoch 17. Page McGregor 18. Shanice Parker
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