NEWCASTLE Knights teammates Willie Mason and Timana Tahu will make a surprise return to representative football next month after being named as "coach's selections" for the All Stars game in Brisbane.
Knights and NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett chose Mason to make his All Stars debut alongside fellow first-timers Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs), James Tamou (Cowboys), Billy Slater (Storm) and Tim Grant (Panthers).
Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley chose Tahu as one of seven players to make their All Stars debut.
The others were Canberra trio Reece Robinson, Jake Foster and Jack Wighton, Aidan Sezer (Titans), Joel Romelo (Bulldogs) and Dane Nielsen (Warriors).
Fans selected 16 players in each team by an online voting system.
Two players - Cameron Smith and Benji Marshall - were exempt from the voting process and guaranteed starts in the NRL All Stars team.
That gave Bennett two additional selections which he used on Mason and Melbourne Storm half-back Cooper Cronk.
Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston was an automatic selection in the Indigenous All Stars side, giving Daley three extra selections. He used those to call in Tahu, Wighton and Nielsen.
The Indigenous All Stars won 16-12 in the first game in 2010, but lost 28-12 the following year and 36-28 last year.
Daley said he was confident the 2013 squad could square the ledger.
"We certainly have some strike-power in our team. When you look at the calibre of players we have, I think fans will be excited at the style of footy we will play," he said.
"I know how determined our team is to perform well and I think we have a squad capable of achieving something special."
Bennett said he was happy with the choices the fans had made for his side, but was equally aware of the talent in the Indigenous All Stars line-up.
"There's no doubt the fans will be in for an entertaining game with the great mix of talented and exciting backs and powerful forwards in both teams," Bennett said.
After three years on the Gold Coast, the match will be played at Suncorp Stadium for the first time on February 9.
NRL All Stars
- Billy Slater
- Akuila Uate
- Shaun Kenny-Dowell
- Josh Morris
- Brett Morris
- Benji Marshall (c)
- Adam Reynolds
- James Tamou
- Cameron Smith
- Ben Hannant
- David Taylor
- Anthony Watmough
- Paul Gallen
Interchange: Robbie Farah, Tim Grant, David Shillington, Feleti Mateo, Jarryd Hayne, Willie Mason, Cooper Cronk.
Indigenous All Stars
- Ben Barba
- Reece Robinson
- Justin Hodges
- Greg Inglis
- Blake Ferguson
- Johnathan Thurston
- Scott Prince
- George Rose
- Travis Waddell
- Andrew Fifita
- Joel Thompson
- Greg Bird
- Nathan Peats
Interchange: Ryan James, Aidan Sezer, Joel Romelo, Jake Foster, Dane Nielsen, Timana Tahu, Jack Wighton.
Hidden secret at the end of peaceful cul-de-sac in highly sought after location Glowing timber floors and soaring ceilings throughout 2 spacious living zones, with...
- Immaculately presented family home on a large, flat 2400sqm allotment - Featuring 5 bedrooms, with 2 large ensuited master suites - Massive outdoor living area...
Perfect NE aspect from this Beautiful Top Quality Home Peacefully nestled on park like half acre With abundant birdlife and array of fruit trees Glowing timber...
Your True Lifestyle Retreat Awaits, Don't Miss This One! Tucked away in a private position in a blue chip pocket of Buderim, is this delightful home framed by a...
Investing on a budget and want reliable cash-flow, well consider this. We have a motivated vendor ready to consider all viable offers, and a reliable tenant in...
These properties are truly hard to find: a triplex in a central location with low body corporate and within minutes of the Maroochy River and Maroochydore shopping...
A pet friendly complex with a short walk to the Shopping Centre, medical centre, public transport and Pelican Waters Tavern. Fitted with top of the range...
After a lifetime navigating the World's oceans our client is hanging up his captain's hat for a well-deserved permanent mooring further south on our wonderful...
- Live in style or add to any investment portfolio as future growth is assured - 5 Year old home featuring 4 good size bedrooms plus study nook - Large...
INSPECT SAT 3-3:45PM. Ever dreamt of living Seaside? This magnificent property encompasses it all. Come home and just relax, listen to the sounds of the ocean...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.