PJ flies flag for Indigenous side

RUGBY LEAGUE: Central Queensland rugby league star PJ Marsh will fly the indigenous flag when the 2010 season kicks off.

The Broncos and Central Comets hooker was yesterday named in the NRL Indigenous All Stars side to play the NRL All Stars at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on February 13.

Marsh joins retired dual international Wendell Sailor and four members of Australia’s triumphant Four Nations Kangaroos in the Indigenous All Stars team.

Melbourne’s golden boot winner Greg Inglis, North Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston and Brisbane team-mates Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday were part of Australia’s big Four Nations victory over England this month.

They have been included in a 20-man squad, which was voted on by the public and will be captained by Gold Coast Titans star Preston Campbell.

It’s the greatest collection of indigenous players selected in a single team and was announced jointly yesterday by NRL chief executive David Gallop, Queensland Minister for Sport Phil Reeves and Indigenous All Stars coach Neil Henry.

The team was announced by ARL Indigenous Council chairman William “Smiley” Johnstone at Parliament House.

Almost 20,000 rugby league fans voted for the side which includes eight players with State of Origin experience.

“The fans have picked an incredible team,” Gallop said.

“There is going to be a huge sense of anticipation building around who is selected in the NRL All Stars team.

“There is no doubt that this will be a spectacular start to season 2010.”

More than 16,000 tickets have already been sold for the February 13 clash.

On the same night at Rockhampton’s Browne Park, NRL premiers the Melbourne Storm will play the Broncos in a pre-season trial.

The Storm will use the game as a final hit-out before their World Club Challenge showdown with Leeds.

The team

Indigenous All Stars: Carl Webb (Nth Qld), Cory Paterson (Newcastle), Daine Laurie (Penrith), George Rose (Manly), Greg Inglis (Melbourne), Jamal Idris (Bulldogs), Jamie Soward (St George Illawarra), Jharal Yow Yeh (Brisbane), Joel Thompson (Canberra), Johnathan Thurston (Nth Qld), Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Nathan Merritt (South Sydney), PJ Marsh (Brisbane), Preston Campbell (capt, Gold Coast), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Scott Prince (Gold Coast), Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Canberra), Travis Waddell (Canberra), Wendell Sailor (St George Illawarra), Yileen Gordon (Bulldogs). Coach: Neil Henry (Nth Qld).

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