Historic All Stars clash set for Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Historic All Stars clash set for Queensland Country Bank Stadium

REVEALED: Stars align for grand showdown in Townsville

THE NRL's best players will bring Queensland Country Bank Stadium to life next year.

In a historic first for North Queensland, the Townsville stadium will play host to the annual Indigenous All Stars showpiece event.

The Townsville Bulletin can reveal the NRL will be at QCB Stadium today to launch the build-up to the All Stars clash on February 20.

The game will pit the best Maori and Indigenous players head to head in what is the perfect showcase of two of the world's oldest cultures.

It will be the 10th iteration of the All Stars clash, and will be played in North Queensland for the first time.

NRL boss Andrew Abdo said it was the first major rugby league event to be held in the stadium.

Maori All Stars and Indigenous All Stars players Corban McGregor, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Esan Marsters and Shaniah Power promote the clahs in Townsville in February. Picture: SCOTT DAVIS
Maori All Stars and Indigenous All Stars players Corban McGregor, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Esan Marsters and Shaniah Power promote the clahs in Townsville in February. Picture: SCOTT DAVIS

"North Queensland is rugby league heartland and I know this game will mean a lot to the local community,'' he said.

"All Stars is an event like no other on our calendar. It brings people together and helps us celebrate First Nations people and rugby league's incredible diversity.

"All Stars is more than a game, it's a week of community engagement, education and cultural awareness. It means so much to our playing group and to the Australian Rugby League Commission."

Latrell Mitchell is seen during the Indigenous All Stars war-cry prior to the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast in February 2020. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Latrell Mitchell is seen during the Indigenous All Stars war-cry prior to the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast in February 2020. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council chair Katrina Fanning said the All Stars would continue to grow with a presence in Townsville.

"The All Stars concept has been such an important initiative since 2010," Fanning said.

"It has changed lives from Gold Coast and Brisbane to Newcastle and Melbourne.

"It makes so much sense to include Townsville - an incredibly important rugby league region but also one with such strong links to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."

Josh Curran of the Indigenous All Stars is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a try during the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast back in February. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Josh Curran of the Indigenous All Stars is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a try during the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast back in February. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

It is fitting for the 10th staging of the clash to be held in Townsville, after Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston was the inaugural winner of the Preston Campbell medal in the first game in 2010.

But it is a future Cowboys star who will be the face of the Indigenous outfit, with speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow lining up opposite Cowboys teammate and Maori player Esan Marsters to promote the epic clash.

The match will be an economic boon for the region, having generated millions of dollars in economic benefits when played in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the All Stars would showcase the region.

"Securing a showcase event like the All Stars is exactly what the Palaszczuk government had in mind when planning Townsville's new world-class stadium," he said.

Brandon Smith of the Maori Kiwis is tackled by Josh Curran and Tyrone Peachey of the Indigenous All Stars (right) during the 2020 NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Brandon Smith of the Maori Kiwis is tackled by Josh Curran and Tyrone Peachey of the Indigenous All Stars (right) during the 2020 NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

"I'm confident the All Stars showcase will shine at Queensland Country Bank Stadium which will also be broadcast on TV nationally and across the ditch.

"North Queensland has a lot to be proud of with its new stadium and I'm sure local fans will give Australia's Indigenous All Stars a competitive advantage."

Queensland Minister for Sport Stirling Hinchcliffe said the All Stars game would be first cab off the rank in a year of big events at the newly minted stadium.

"NRL All Stars is the first of series of planned events that will see this world-class stadium shine in 2021 and support more jobs for North Queensland," he said.

Originally published as REVEALED: Stars align for grand showdown in Townsville


WHAT’S ON: Australia Day events around the Whitsundays

Premium Content WHAT’S ON: Australia Day events around the Whitsundays

Bite into a snag, sip on a cold beer, take in live music and more on January 26.

Bloomsbury dad loses $140K job after drunken ute crash

Premium Content Bloomsbury dad loses $140K job after drunken ute crash

His former employer owned the car he smashed into a fence while more than three...

37 new citizens set to be officially welcomed to Whitsundays

Premium Content 37 new citizens set to be officially welcomed to Whitsundays

Mayor Andrew Willcox has spoken about the significance of citizenship ahead of the...