PREVIEW: 2016 All Stars
2016 Harvey Norman All Stars
Saturday February 13
Kick-off: 6.50pm local time (7.50pm AEDT)
A total of three Rabbitohs players will represent in the 2016 instalment of the Harvey Norman All Stars match at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday, with Thomas Burgess and Adam Reynolds representing the newly-formed World All Stars, while Greg Inglis will have the honour of captaining the Indigenous side.
Some of the game’s best players are set to come together this Saturday, as the electric looking Indigenous All Stars, consisting of the likes of Inglis, Edrick Lee, James Roberts, Dane Gagai and Ben Barba, face off against players such as Ryan Hoffman, Gareth Widdop and Josh Morris.
The trio of Rabbitohs have been in camp for a week in preparation for the upocoming, event which celebrates Indigenous culture, the contribution of Indigenous men and women to the game of Rugby League, but also – among other things – draws attention to the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
For Rabbitohs and World All Stars halfback, Adam Reynolds, the week has been a special one considering his upbringing in the strongly Indigenous community of Redfern, but also because his partner, Tallara, is also of Indigenous heritage.
"I learnt a lot about the Indigenous community (growing up in Redfern) and my partner and my three kids are Aboriginal so there's a bit of rivalry there this week with us two," Reynolds told NRL.com this week.
"My partner and two of the kids have been to Indigenous courses and are learning how to speak the language and learning a bit about the past.
"It's always good to remember where you come from and how proud they are of it.
"I try and get involved and support my missus and the kids. Obviously they are proud of what they are doing like I am about my football. They support me so any time I can get in and learn with them as well is a good time."
The clash is also an opportunity for Rabbitohs skipper, Inglis, to lead the Indigenous side in what will surely be one of the proudest moments of the Test and Origin player’s career.
Indigenous All Stars and New South Wales coach Laurie Daley told NRL.com this week that he has seen Greg grow into a leader.
"As you get older and as you play more footy you understand what a leader looks like and what you want to get out of the game," said Daley.
"He's really vocal around the group and is a guy that has got a lot of respect out there.
"He's one of those guys that when he talks everyone listens and that's good because he's developed into a really good leader and someone that the guys really enjoy playing with."
Greg Inglis – GI makes his presence felt in any jersey that he pulls on, and that fact will no doubt be evident come Saturday night. A proud Indigenous man who has grown to become a leader at the Rabbitohs, Queensland and the Australian side, GIs leadership qualities will be an important part of the Indigenous side’s game. But so too will be his skill – and there’s no shortage of that either.
Adam Reynolds – Reynolds get his second chance at All Stars level on Saturday night when he partners with Gareth Widdop in what will no doubt be a potent halves pairing. Just one year into his first grade career when he played for the NRL All Stars in 2013, Reynolds has matured since and will no doubt be looking to stamp his authority on his team’s back-line while also seizing opportunities to take them on himself when the opportunity presents itself.
Thomas Burgess – With the added experience of a successful Test Series for England and an off-season of training in the NFL under his belt, Thomas Burgess could be a different beast to the one Rabbitohs fans have been used to in previous seasons. Expect Burgess to lead from the front with some strong charges.
An experimental rule will be in place for this weekend’s games including the All Stars and the Charity Shield, which will see differential penalties awarded against players who do not play the ball correctly.
NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said referees would be encouraged to strictly police the new interpretations to ensure players were penalised for failing to play the ball correctly.
Mr Greenberg said NRL match officials had worked with the clubs through the pre-season on ensuring their understanding of the change was clear.
“This has been identified as an area which needs to be addressed and there clearly needs to be some increased regulation of the play-the-ball,” Mr Greenberg said.
“We have consulted the coaches and also worked with the clubs over the pre-season to ensure they are ready for the changes.
“It is a relatively minor offence but it is a source of frustration for many and it is clear there needs to be some penalty applied for failing to make a genuine attempt to play the ball.
“We understand how critical penalties can be in the context of a game, but a differential penalty will ensure that referees can apply the rules more vigilantly.”
The success of the change would be assessed before it was decided whether the rule would be adopted in the future.
Trial matches will also include new rules preventing teams from forming a wall to prevent charge-downs from field-goal attempts, ahead of its introduction in the NRL Telstra Premiership.
The rule allows that “if two or more players form a wall (side by side) next to the play the ball and don’t allow the opportunity for a defending player to move directly towards the player in possession, the referee will penalise for obstruction”.
New shot clock timings will also be in place for the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars, this Saturday’s Charity Shield, as well as the Penrith-Parramatta trial match on February 20, ahead of the formal introduction of the technology in Round One.
Following recommendations put to the Competition Committee and the Coaches Conference, the ARL Commission endorsed timings of 35 seconds for scrums and 30 seconds for drop-outs.
Any team which does not pack a scrum or execute a drop-out in the required time will be penalised. Should both teams not pack the team with the loose head and feed will receive the penalty.
Indigenous All Stars
1. Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2. Edrick Lee (Canberra Raiders)
3. Will Chambers (Melbourne Storm)
4. James Roberts (Brisbane Broncos)
5. Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)
6. Ben Barba (Cronulla Sharks)
7. Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast Titans)
8. Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
9. Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys)
10. Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
11. Joel Thompson (St George Illawarra Dragons)
12. Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)
13. Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans)
14. Tyrone Peachey (Penrith Panthers)
15. Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders)
16. Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks)
17. Craig Garvey (Canterbury Bulldogs)
18. Jamie Soward (Penrith Panthers)
19. David Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
20. Leilani Latu (Penrith Panthers)
World All Stars
1. Jordan Kahu (Broncos)
2. Semi Radradra (Eels)
3. Jarrod Croker (Raiders)
4. Josh Morris (Bulldogs)
5. Nene Macdonald (Titans)
6. Gareth Widdop (Dragons)
7. Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)
8. James Graham (Bulldogs)
9. Cameron Smith (c, Storm)
10. Tom Burgess (Rabbitohs)
11. Chris Lawrence (Tigers)
12. Ryan Hoffman (Warriors)
13. Jeremy Smith (Knights)
14. Michael Ennis (Sharks)
15. Kane Evans (Roosters)
16. Konrad Hurrell (Warriors)
17. Trent Merrin (Panthers)
18. Beau Scott (Eels)
19. Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles)
20. Matthew Wright (Cowboys)