All Stars clash dims due to injuries
BLOCKBUSTING New Zealand Warrior Konrad Hurrell has won a late call-up to Wayne Bennett's World All Stars side after teammate Roger Tuivasa-Sheck joined the long list of players on the injured list following a gruelling Auckland Nines weekend.
And the Indigenous All Stars have also been forced into making its own late change with coach Laurie Daley calling up David Fifita (Cronulla) and Leilani Latu (Penrith) to replace South Sydney's Chris Grevsmuhl and Alex Johnston, who have also been ruled out through injury.
Hurrell was lucky to escape a charge during the Nines for his high-knee running style after charging into Manly's Jake Trbojevic and knocking him out with his knee.
With a number of big names including Johnathan Thurston, Robbie Farah and English international Sam Burgess scratched from game, the All Stars concept - to be held this Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium - is again in danger of being scrapped because of a hectic pre-season schedule.
Player safety has again been raised following a spate of injuries in the Auckland Nines, with the All Stars clash and World Club Championship series in England this month still to come.
The Auckland Nines now looks firmly established on the pre-season calendar while the UK series between NRL clubs and English Super League clubs is a nice money-earner.
Queensland, Australian and Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday said he hoped the All Star game would survive.
"I hope there will always be some aspect of the Indigenous All Stars in the NRL. We've set a benchmark now and I think it will continue in some way, shape or form," he said.