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.
What a fantastic opportunity to secure an 800m2 block only metres from the water and minutes' walk to Cannonvale Beach. The ideal dream home block or investment...
Meet all your mates at Kate Street, with this modern and spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit, within walking distance to Mackay CBD and beach. Entry Level: - 1...
When it comes to buying dream homes in the Whitsundays, it's the houses with superb ocean views and convenient locations that are the most popular. Well this home...
If you are impressed by the pictures....wait until you get inside. This upmarket family home has been superbly built resting on a 808sqm corner allotment...
The instructions are clear, our owners are moving on and don't want to rent, so this house needs to sell. The home offers the ideal balance between budget and...
Drive down the street and you will see how family oriented this street is. With acres of parkland surrounding this sought after address, Abell Rd is the ideal...
Previous marketing and price indications should be disregarded. The owners are ready to cast their lines and must sell this property to realise their sailing...
Attention land buyers - Don't settle for smaller sized estate blocks when you can buy an acre or more for the same price. Theses allotments are by far the best...
You will find everything that you would expect and more from this character filled family residence featuring a large outdoor entertaining area and inground...
This 8060 square metre (two acres) site with bitumen road access is ready for your choice of home and enjoys views over a large dam located at the rear. With...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.