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.
Here is that rare find that you have been searching for, one that ticks the boxed for mum, dad and the kids. 4 big double bedrooms bathroom and master with huge...
Welcome to 15 Brazier Road, Kleinton. A spectacular representation of acreage living offering you so much. Featuring an enchanting 4 bedroom + study homestead with...
Sitting proudly behind the white picket fence is an opportunity that has arisen and one not to be missed. Here is a lovely weatherboard homely home ready for a new...
Featuring a unique fusion of space and style, this solidly built 4 bedroom + study residence has all of the requirements for sophisticated family living in a...
Boarding the historical Mort Street Estate (Toowoomba's oldest subdivision) the surrounding neighbourhood boasts quiet tree lined streets, filled with character...
This sizeable split-level brick family home is sure to impress all who inspect. Originally built in 1978, and extended in the mid 80s, this home been meticulously...
Only moments from the new Drayton shopping centre and minutes to the University of Southern Queensland, this home in Drayton is perfectly positioned for...
This luxuriously furnished unit is complete with quality French styling and dcor that will appeal to even the most discerning taste (Can be sold unfurnished if...
Spacious and stylish, this extraordinary property offers extremely versatile family living, incorporating exceptional quality throughout. Gourmet kitchen with...
Step inside and discover the striking combination of space, quality and location. A 4 bedroom brick home with lots of entertaining space, a true reward for the...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.