In only ten years of existence, the NRL All Stars Game has become a staple of the Premiership preseason and we’re set for another quality contest between the Indigenous All Stars and Maori All Stars on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The match has enjoyed plenty of new initiatives throughout its existence and it is probably fair to say that the current format of the game produces the highest quality of contest for fans, and also offers terrific value from a betting perspective.
The star-studded backline that coach Laurie Daley has selected has seen the Indigenous All Stars open as firm $1.55 favourites to beat the Maori All Stars ($2.50).
Indigenous All Stars
As is the case every year, the backs will play a key role in the Indigenous All Stars’ success.
All eyes will be on Rabbitohs’ signing Latrell Mitchell, who has been handed the number 1 jersey. His performance in this game is sure to have some bearing on Wayne Bennett’s Round 1 squad, though it is hard to imagine producing anything other than a star performance in this game.
He will be ably supported by a fast line boasting names like Blake Ferguson, James Roberts and Josh Addo-Carr, while Jack Wighton and Tyrone Roberts will steer the ship in six and seven.
The issue for the Indigenous All Stars, as has typically been the case, will be in the forwards. The top-line quality falls away reasonably quickly, and there is a big question mark over whether or not they will be able to go toe-to-toe with a Maori pack that boasts some huge, mobile players with plenty representative experience.
Maori All Stars
It’s almost the complete opposite situation for the Maori All Stars side, with their forward pack sure to be the team’s strength again in 2020.
That certainly isn’t to say that their backline is weak – star Kalyn Ponga will start at fullback, with Kiwi captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak joining the likes of Dylan Walker and Esan Marsters.
The Maori All Stars pack really is something to behold, however. The Bromwich brothers are both set to start along with the exciting Corey Harawira-Naera, pushing names as big as Isaac Luke, Adam Blair and Kevin Proctor to the bench.
If they can dig in early and perhaps even get over the line a couple of times, the Maori All Stars looks more than capable of exposing holes for the likes of Ponga and Walker to exploit.
NRL All Stars Betting
This is set to be an excellent contest for the full eighty minutes and there is a genuine case to be made for both sides.
For that reason, I think that the Maori All Stars are potentially over the odds at $2.50 to win. The line is only set at 4.5 points and if the Maori side is to go that close, I think that there is every chance that they will win the game.
Closer to the weekend, I’ll be looking to back Kaylin Ponga to score the first try of the match and I believe that will set the tone for the remainder of the match.
Tip: Back the Maori All Stars to Win at $2.50