LEAGUE LEGEND: Matt Sing, pictured playing for the Maroons in the 2003 State of Origin series, was named in the Rockhampton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander All Stars. Sing played 323 NRL and Super League games, 24 Origins and 15 Test matches.
LEAGUE LEGEND: Matt Sing, pictured playing for the Maroons in the 2003 State of Origin series, was named in the Rockhampton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander All Stars. Sing played 323 NRL and Super League games, 24 Origins and 15 Test matches. TONY PHILLIPS

Rockhampton All Stars 'one hell of a side'

RUGBY LEAGUE: Barry Doyle said it took hours of "very lively and healthy debate” to decide on the final make-up of the Rockhampton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander All Stars.

The 22-man Team of the Century was announced at Browne Park on Saturday to coincide with the Intrust Super Cup's Indigenous Round in which the CQ Capras took on the Easts Tigers.

About half the players were there on the night to celebrate their inclusion in the team and their proud cultural and sporting heritage.

Doyle was head of the six-man selection panel and is also chairman of Darumbal Community Youth Service, which was the game day sponsor for the Indigenous Round.

He said it was challenging but also very satisfying to be involved in compiling the illustrious list, which includes local legends, Queensland Country representatives and Origin and NRL stars.

"It was very hard, very hard,” he said of the selection process, which started on the urgings of CQ Capras CEO Peter White about six months ago.

"We had about 100 names to start with and then cut it down to 70 and then 40.

"We wanted to get it down to 17 but we couldn't, it was just too difficult.

"We decided to extend it to 20 but ended up with 22.”

PJ Marsh, pictured in action with the Parramatta Eels in 2006, played a total of 160 NRL games. He also played four Origins, was selected in the 2009 Indigenous All Stars and was named in the CQ Capras Team of the Century.
PJ Marsh, pictured in action with the Parramatta Eels in 2006, played a total of 160 NRL games. He also played four Origins, was selected in the 2009 Indigenous All Stars and was named in the CQ Capras Team of the Century. COLIN WHELAN

Doyle said there was a host of selection criteria, among them that the player had to be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and must have played two to three years in an A-grade competition in the Rockhampton region.

"Overall, three quarters of the team basically sorted itself out,” he said.

"We started with the positions firstly and we probably had five, six, seven players for each position.

"There was plenty of research done and there was some very lively and healthy debate.

"If the six members of the panel picked their own teams they would have been completely different so it was great that we could come together to make those tough decisions.”

Doyle said it was an impressive side.

"People have said it would go really well in the Intrust Super Cup and would be competitive in the NRL,” he said.

"That's the beauty of having all those players from across the different eras in a magical team.

"If they all came together, they'd make one hell of a side.”

Doyle said there was some incredible talent in the team but one of his favourites was dynamic halfback Greg Upkett, who could "wreck teams by himself and often did” when playing for Fitzroy, Norths and All Blacks.

Upkett played for the Capras from 1987-1991 and in 1997, for Queensland Country in 1987 and the undefeated Queensland Residents team on their tour of PNG in 1989.

ROCKHAMPTON ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ALL STARS

'Sugar' Ray Robinson, Stewart White, Les Bunda, Marshall Leisha, Troy White, Wayne Alberts, James White, PJ Marsh, Matt Sing, Norman Freeman, Paul Iles, Brian White, Greg Upkett, Hughie Stanley Snr, Shane Robinson, James Waterton, John Doyle, Campbell Powder, Kerry Butler, Graham White, Ivan Upkett and Francis Rolls.



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