The NRL All Stars clash is scheduled to be played outside Australia for the first time next season, though it appears not all parties are happy about the schedule.

The Indigenous All Stars will be raring to go for the fixture with the Maori's now holding the trophy for three consecutive matches between the pair, however the contest's movement to Rotorua in New Zealand could see a few stars miss the clash.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the NRL has brought the Indigenous side's flight forward for the contest, from February 9th (Thursday) to now booking them for February 6th (Monday), and it's caused more uproar than one would think.

Indigenous All Stars v Maori All Stars Men's
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 12: The Indigenous All-Stars perform an Indigenous dance before the match between the Men's Indigenous All Stars and the Men's Maori All Stars at CommBank Stadium on February 12, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

One of the biggest aspects of the annual fixture since its 2010 inception has been the ability for the Indigenous side to show and share their culture amongst local communities, usually visiting schools and setting up training sessions with young Indigenous men and women during the week.

The Indigenous side were originally told they would fly out the Thursday, two days prior to the match, meaning the team would be able to visit those Indigenous communities through the first half of the week, however the flight change has put a screeching halt to those plans.

It's upset members of the side, so much so that some players have reportedly discussed boycotting the match.

It would be a step backwards for the stars after three of the Kangaroos' World Cup-winning outside backs were Indigenous - Jack Wighton, Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell.

Indigenous All-Stars v New Zealand Maori All-Stars
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22: Josh Addo-Carr of the Indigenous All-Stars during the NRL match between the Indigenous All-Stars and the New Zealand Maori Kiwis All-Stars at Cbus Super Stadium on February 22, 2020 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Thoughts of an Indigenous national side rivalling the Kangaroos were even discussed, however it appears that idea has been momentarily shelved.

The move takes a lot of passion out of the match, with the week itself meaning a lot more to the Indigenous players than just the 80 minute contest, however it does give the Maori side an opportunity to connect with their own communities.

One Indigenous All Star who is a near certainty to play regardless of the flight times is Rabbitohs star Cody Walker, who has not only captained the side in the past, but has also been announced as assistant coach for the clash.

The match will get underway at Rotorua International Stadium on February 11th, with or without the stars that make this annual clash so meaningful.


  1. What a petty-minded stance by whichever of our indigenous “stars” think that the Maori communities don’t deserve the same opportunities that they have been given with their week-long sessions. Pretty hypocritical, or perhaps typical, of them to not consider any one else. While they have been the centre stage it is all good, so how about their “cousies across the dutch” who have watched them squeezing all the goodwill from the event? Give them a go too. I will bet my left one that Preston would happily support extending the concept to others just as needy.

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