As the much-anticipated NRL Indigenous All Stars match approaches, coach Laurie Daley’s 20-man team has been rocked by injuries before they face off against the Maori team on the Gold Coast.
As the 2020 All Stars team gears up for the clash, proud Biripi man, Latrell Mitchell, has said he is keen to wear the No. 1 jersey from now onwards.
The 22-year-old, who recently signed with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, has pronounced skills at both fullback and centre for the Indigenous side.
Since the team’s announcement, there have been multiple players sidelined due to ongoing injuries.
Brisbane Broncos centre, Jack Bird, was originally picked for the All Stars squad but had to withdraw as he manages his comeback from an ACL injury.
New Zealand Warriors forward, Josh Curran, replaced the Broncos player.
At the end of 2019, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks prop, Andrew Fifita, had a knee clean out which made his place on the All Stars team uncertain.
Over the weekend, Fifita took to Instagram to announce his withdrawal from the February 22 clash.
“I’m shattered and gutted that I cannot represent,” the player wrote, wishing his fellow teammates well.
All Stars Captain and Rabbitohs five-eighth and fullback, Cody Walker, is also recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
Only just returning to contact work with the Rabbitohs earlier this week, the All Stars Coach said he doesn’t want to risk Walker at the Indigenous game.
“I don’t think he will be [playing] due to his shoulder injury. It has taken a bit more time. He has got to have a few more weeks of contact, which he just started yesterday,” Daley said.
In devastating news for the Gold Coast Titans, star forward Ryan James has also suffered a second ACL injury after being off-field for majority of the 2019 season.
The 28-year-old had a recurrence of the injury at training last Friday, with scans confirming he had indeed had a repeat ACL.
James is set to see more specialists in the wake of this news to decide his best steps going forward.
The NRL All Stars 2020 has a limited number of dedicated Supporter Seats Tickets which can be purchased online.
The two Indigenous sides will meet at the Gold Coast’s Cbus Super Stadium on February 22 and will be broadcast live on the Nine Network, Fox League, SKY New Zealand and on NRL Live Pass.
By Sharnae Watson