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.
Here is an outstanding opportunity to purchase a rare parcel of land in "Cypress Grove" which is a beautiful 5 lot subdivision in Suffolk Park. This 897m2 north...
This property sits on one of Watego's Beaches highest points with a north aspect and the views are uninterrupted from the Bay to the Gold Coast and the stunning...
Inspect Saturday's 1.00 - 1.30pm Nestled in a quiet road in one of the Byron hinterland's most sought after areas, this 10 acre property boasts absolutely...
'Taronga' is an elevated property capturing expansive rural and ocean views. Situated in a tightly held location surrounded by large rural holdings, this home is...
3 bedroom, 2 bathroom duplex located within a few minutes level walking distance to the Ocean Shores Shopping Centre, and just 3 minutes drive to the local...
This easy maintenance, compact 2 bedroom 1 bathroom unit is now going to Auction. The owner has removed the price and wants it sold! With ocean views from the...
Here is an exciting opportunity to purchase a hinterland property with a beautifully renovated, north facing 3 bedroom main house, plus a separate studio and...
Positioned in highly desired beachside Suffolk Park, this 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home offers generous proportions and is set back from the street. A spacious open...
A Charming Character Cottage in the village of Clunes Now For Sale for the First Time in over 20 years. On a quiet no through road, is this charming timber...
Set on 2030m2 in an exclusive cul-de-sac with unparalleled views of Cape Byron Lighthouse and a stunning bush outlook over treetops, this elevated property has a...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.