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2 hours ago | Josh Robertson
The Indigenous and Maori men's sides have played out a 10-all draw in the annual clash played at Townsville's QLD Country Bank Stadium tonight.
The NRL All Stars game was a fiercely fought battle played in greasy conditions due to some light rain at the start of the game. There were a few sin binnings, a few scuffles and some expansive footy and big hits. It was a good way to get the footy season started.
The game got off to a blistering start, with both sides moving the ball around freely and making big metres, however it was the Maori All Stars who dominated the possession and field position in the first quarter.
The Indigenous side repelled several attacks with some very strong defence on the right edge, three times saw Maori attackers bundled into touch by the committed Indigenous All Stars defence.
Tempers flared briefly midway through the first quarter, but play carried on. Right on quarter time, Jamal Fogarty was tackled around the legs late by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and as the siren sounded, Fogarty kicked a penalty goal to give the Indigenous side the first points of the game and a 2-0 lead.
Play became increasingly sloppier in the second quarter, while the discipline for both sides started to dissipate.
The Indigenous side looked more threatening, but again struggled to get good field position or build pressure, while the Maori side continued to struggle with last tackle plays, despite having several sets in perfect field position.
In the 35th minute, Zane Musgrove got put on report and sin-binned for a shoulder charge.
At halftime, the Indigenous All Stars led 2-0.
The second half started with the Indigenous side finally getting themselves some repeat sets and looking the most likely to score the first try of the game, but it was the Maori who claimed that honour in the 49th minute when Benji Marshall, under the posts, sent a nice flat ball to the trailing runner Jordan Riki and the big man bulldozed his way over to score under the posts. Patrick Herbert converted to give the Maori a 6-2 lead.
Five minutes later and the Maori were in again with a brilliant individual effort from Joey Manu. Fogarty passed out the back but Manu took a clean intercept, ran 50 metres before passing to Watene-Zelezniak and the winger scored on the right side. Herbert failed to convert from out wide.
Just 2 minutes before the end of the third quarter, Tyrone Peachey got sin binned after a silly little bump on Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who was running the ball back to take a 20 metre tap. No further points scored though and at three-quarter time, the Maori led 10-2.
The Inidgenous side needed to score first in the final quarter and did just that 4 minutes after play resumed when Latrell Mitchell, on the left side, ran to the line and grubbered through, finding Alex Johnston flying through, cleaned up and scored in the corner. Mitchell then converted from touch to reduce the Maori lead to just 2 points.
Plenty of expansive play, interspersed with ill-discipline saw both sides create plenty of opportunities but unable to capitalise on them. With just 64 seconds left in the game and the Indigenous side right on the Maori line, Wiremu Greig jumped off his line and tackled the Indigenous dummy half without the ball, getting penalised in the process. Latrell Mitchell kicked a penalty goal and the game ended a 10 all draw.
Indigenous All Stars 10 - Maori Kiwis 10
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Halftime Score: Indigenous All Stars 2 Maori Kiwis 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Benji Marshall
2 points - Jamal Fogarty
1 points - Joey Manu
INDIGENOUS ALL STARS (10)
Tries: Alex Johnston
Conversions: Latrell Mitchell (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Jamal Fogarty (1/1), Latrell Mitchell (1/1)
MAORI KIWIS (10)
Tries: Jordan Riki, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Conversions: Patrick Herbert (1/2)