The NRL All Stars match is a pre-season rugby league exhibition match pitting the Indigenous All Stars up against the NRL All Stars. Brain child of former Indigenous great Preston Campbell, the match features some of the best names in the game, not only from Indigenous backgrounds, but from all cultures.
First taking place in 2010 at Skilled Park, now known as Cbus Super Stadium, on the Gold Coast, it has become a must-see event for rugby league diehards across the country. It is the one rugby league game in Australia where the fans pick the teams. Generally, fans pick the Indigenous All Stars first, consisting of six forwards, seven backs and seven wildcards. The forwards and backs will predominantly be the run on squad, while the wildcards make up the bench. The exhibition game has evolved since its inception, with the match trophy named the Arthur Beetson trophy in 2012, in honour of the first Indigenous athlete to ever captain an Australian sporting team, Arthur Beetson. Affectionately known as Artie, Beetson was a rugby league legend, loved by many.
This game puts some of the NRL’s biggest stars side-by-side, and for some, for the first time ever. In the NRL All Stars team, the captains of both the Australian Rugby League team and the New Zealand Rugby League team are automatically picked, getting a rare chance to play alongside each other. In the past, former New Zealand captain Benji Marshall has been partnered in the halves by Australian captain Darren Lockyer, a partnership that would not have taken place in any other professional rugby league game. Then in 2013, Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran came off the bench to partner Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds in the halves; again, a partnership that more than likely won’t occur at any level.
|2017||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||WORLD ALL STARS||34-8|
|2016||WORLD ALL STARS||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||12-8|
|2015||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||NRL ALL STARS||20-6|
|2013||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||NRL ALL STARS||32-6|
|2012||NRL ALL STARS||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||39-28|
|2011||NRL ALL STARS||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||28-12|
|2010||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||NRL ALL STARS||16-12|
*Was not played in 2014 to accommodate for the Auckland Nines tournament.
Like in every major game in the NRL, a man of the match award is given. In the Grand Final, it is known as the Clive Churchill Medal. In State of Origin, it is the Wally Lewis Medal. In the NRL All Stars match, the best player on the field receives the Preston Campbell Medal.
|2017||JOHNATHAN THURSTON||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS|
|2016||JAMES GRAHAM||WORLD ALL STARS|
|2015||GEORGE ROSE||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||FRONT ROW|
|2013||BEN BARBA||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||FULLBACK|
|2012||NATHAN MERRITT||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||WING|
|2011||JOSH DUGAN||NRL ALL STARS||FULLBACK|
|2010||JOHNATHAN THURSTON||INDIGENOUS ALL STARS||HALFBACK|