Last Wednesday saw Mal Meninga name his first ever World All-Stars team, and it leaves the question begging, where are the real All-Stars of the NRL?

While the 20-man squad does contain the likes of superstar Jarryd Hayne and Dally M Centre of the Year Joseph Leilua, it's the absences that are the major talking point. The All-Stars concept was revived last year with the change from the NRL All Stars to the World All-Stars, displaying the diversity of players within the league. But this year’s squad only features one Kiwi and one Englishman, in the form of Sam Lisone and Jordan Turner, the latter yet to make his NRL debut after joining Canberra from the Super League.

Last year featured a collective six players from either New Zealand or England, a far cry from the two this year. But despite the lack of Kiwis and Englishman, the real surprise is some of the Australian players failing to feature in the squad. Dally M medallist Cooper Cronk and Australian captain Cameron Smith miss are missing, as well as fellow incumbent Kangaroos Darius Boyd, Valentine Homes and Tyson Frizell.

Jason Taumalolo and Valentine Holmes both miss out on the team after spending the last month trialling with NFL teams in the United States. Fellow Four Nations players Jordan Rapana and Josh Mansour both miss out after suffering facial and knee injuries respectively during the tournament. With Rapana previously representing the Cooks Islands and Mansour representing Lebanon, a spot in the squad was highly likely for both wingers.

The Indigenous All Stars squad also presented its own controversy, with Laurie Daley naming Andrew Fifita in the squad despite his recent breach notice from the NRL following his support of coward punch killer Kurt Loveridge.

“I've coached him before and certainly had no issues with him. He's always proud and he loves playing in this game” said Daley, last week.

Dally M Rookie of the Year Ashley Taylor will partner Jonathan Thurston in the halves in his  Indigenous All Stars debut, with premiership winner Jack Bird also debuting for the Indigenous team, named on the interchange bench for Daley’s team.

With the game being highly scrutinised over the past few seasons, could the All Stars match follow in the footsteps of the annual City-Country match and be scrapped in the near future? Unless the NRL’s elite begin to take the match seriously, then this could be one of the last All-Star games.


  1. Darius Boyd (Australia)
  2. Josh Mansour (Lebanon)
  3. Dylan Walker (Pitcairn Islands)
  4. James Tedesco (Italy)
  5. Jordan Rapana (Cook Islands)
  6. Shaun Johnson (New Zealand)
  7. Cooper Cronk (Australia)
  8. George Burgess (England)
  9. Cameron Smith © (Australia)
  10. James Graham (England)
  11. Tyson Frizell (Wales)
  12. Jason Taumalolo (New Zealand)
  13. Sam Burgess (England)
  1. Isaac Luke (New Zealand)
  2. Jason Bukuya (Fiji)
  3. Tom Burgess (England)
  4. Sam Kasiano (Samoa)
  5. Semi Radradra (Fiji)
  6. Anthony Milford (Samoa)
  7. Dylan Napa (Cook Islands)

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