The NRL All Stars have defeated the Indigenous All Stars 28-12 with Josh Dugan being named the Preston Campbell medal winner as the man of the match.
It was a game played at a really high intensity, just about every player looked sharp and while there were a few bumps, bruises and some blood spilt, it seems like everyone got out of the match unscathed.
Beau Champion was knocked unconscious after attempting a tackle on Petero Civoneceva which George Rose looked to have broken his nose. Fingers crossed that is about as bad as it gets.
Watching this game, it was played at such a pace and ferocity, you have to think that the days of a half hearted charity game are done and dusted. With the was the rules are and the size, speed and strength of modern day players, you basically have to go hard or go home.
The much talked about experimental kicking rule didn’t get a run, which wasn’t a surprise, and at the end of the day the thing that got the NRL All Stars over the line was a bit more possession and some slick moves by their game breakers.
Benji Marshall looked fantastic early while Josh Dugan was just on another level from what we have even seen from him in the last 12 months. Petero Civoniceva looked good considering its so early in the year and Cameron Smith just did his thing, steering the team around the part beautifully.
For the Aboriginal side, Matthew Bowen looked fantastic. He was playing without strapping and just looked like the Mattew Bowen of old! Jamal Idris played well and Jonathan Thurston guided them around the park well but I thought Scott Prince was anonymous.
It was a very enjoyable game with a good crowd of over 25,000, however watching it, I got the feeling this game would get a lot out of a change, maybe a new venue or a different side for the Aboriginals to play against.
I guess on the latter point there would be some concern that, if the All Stars side wasn’t made up of at least one player from every club, general interest would be down. I don’t think that would be an issue, but at the same time, I found myself getting more excited every time one of my Penrith Panthers got their hands on the ball.
Overall, another great game that was well presented. It is a credit to everyone involved in this contest that straight off the bat it has been such a success, on and off the field.
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