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Andrew Abdo confirms the All-Stars game will go ahead as planned

22 Jan 22, 8:41AM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Getty Images

Since 2010, the NRL All Stars game has marked the unofficial start to each NRL season and has featured a variety of matchups for the Indigenous All Stars since the concept’s establishment.

Until 2015, it would be the NRL All-Stars taking on the Indigenous All Stars for bragging rights each February, before the game was changed in 2016 to feature the Indigenous side taking on the World All-Stars, a side composed of players from different nationalities, and since 2019 the NRL All-Stars were swapped out for the Maori All-Stars, helping to promote the culture of both groups ahead of the big game.

Over the past few days, there has been a growing concern that the 2022 edition of the All-Stars game would not go ahead as a result of the rise in COVID-19 cases.

However, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday and revealed that the event would go ahead as planned and all 16 clubs had been promised that players of theirs selected for the game would return fit and ready for the 2022 NRL season.

“The games will still go ahead, and we’re working through all the logistics as we speak,” said Abdo.

“It will be strictly controlled, and we’re finalising all the details with our biosecurity experts. We have to be dynamic with this game because the [COVID] situation is changing so quickly.

“We want to make sure whatever we do will be safe, and we want to return the players to their clubs safely as well.

“The [ARL] Commission is applying a risk-management strategy, they have ensured we have stayed ahead of these challenges for two years and are again taking a leadership position.”

Abdo also spoke of the All-Star game’s importance in creating pathways for Indigenous and Maori talent, including developing the current players into coaches who can help the next generation.

“It’s a great week, but as the players have identified, it’s also a great opportunity to develop talent pathways and help players’ transition into coaching, management and other roles,” said Abdo.

“There’s a great pathway opportunity, especially for former Indigenous players who have aspirations to be coaches.”

On February 12th it seems we could be seeing a few future coaches out on the field representing their culture.

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