Māori NRL fans have spoken

By Regan Paranihi

NRL fans have selected their NRL Māori All-Star team to play against the Australian Indigenous All Stars team on February 15.

Polls opened earlier this month for fans to vote in who they want to be in the first Māori squad, however, Chairman of Māori Rugby League JD Devonshire says the team has not been finalised.

This test match will kick off the 2019 NRL season in which both the men's and women's teams will take to the field. 

This is the first time a Māori side will take part in the pre-season event.

Last August the National Rugby League announced a revamp in the Harvey Norman All Stars concept which was to replace the World All-Stars with a New Zealand Māori team to incorporate some passion, culture, and tribalism to the event.

The match will be played in Melbourne at the AAMI Park and fans want to see Newcastle superstar Kalyn Ponga play alongside players such as Tohu Harris and Adam Blair, who both returned home in recent years to play top side on home soil in the Warriors squad.

Kalyn Ponga

They also hope to see 20-year-old Ponga move from fullback to five-eight and working alongside Melbourne’s Jahrome Hughes.

A women’s match will be played as a curtain-raiser, with the main event kicking off at 8pm Australia time.

See below for full list of players:

Peta Hiku (Warriors)

Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs)

Esan Marsters (Tigers)

Dean Whare (Panthers)

Jordan Kahu (Broncos)

Kalyn Ponga (Knights)

Jahrome Hughes (Storm)

Jesse Bromwich (Storm)

Brandon Smith (Storm)

Jordan McLean (Cowboys)

Kevin Proctor (Titans)

Tohu Harris (Warriors)

Adam Blair (Warriors).

Reserves:

Danny Levi (Knights)

Brad Takairangi (Eels)

James Fisher-Harris (Panthers)

James Tamou (Panthers)

Gerard Beale (Warriors)

Corey Harawira-Naera (Bulldogs)

Joseph Tapine (Raiders).