(EDS: Closes off RL Stars Wrap)
By Laine Clark
BRISBANE, Feb 14 AAP – Greg Inglis has taken a thinly veiled swipe at Todd Greenberg, wondering why the NRL head of football had questioned the All Stars game’s future ahead of the showcase event.
Debate over the game again reared its head after Greenberg revealed following the NRL Auckland Nines that the All Stars concept would be under review next year.
The players did their best to sell the showcase event, with the World All Stars holding out the Indigenous team 12-8 in a high quality arm wrestle in front of 37,339 Suncorp Stadium fans.
ARL Commission chairman John Grant tried to hose down speculation before the kick-off, telling reporters on Saturday that he had guaranteed the event’s future.
But Indigenous captain Inglis did not hide his disappointment over Greenberg’s comments that ensured the game came under scrutiny in its sixth year.
“I think the whole week has gone unbelievably well,” he said.
“It was a bit unfortunate that the comment came out before this week started.
“I think they should have waited until after the week to be honest.
“You can tell from the boys that they really enjoy this week.
“And the crowd that turned out tonight, you couldn’t hear much on the field (because of the crowd noise).
“This game is a great concept.”
The NRL was reportedly weighing up the game’s future after last year’s match on the Gold Coast suffered a $500,000 loss.
Then there were concerns about player welfare and even interest.
Five Indigenous players made themselves unavailable for the match while nine of the original 20-strong World All Stars squad pulled out.
It still remains to be seen where and when the All Stars match will be held with the NRL’s two-year Queensland government contract to host the clash expiring this season.
It wasn’t just the concept that was being put to the test on Saturday night.
The match was also previewing the new NRL video referee bunker system.
And it raised eyebrows in the 32nd minute when Warriors juggernaut Konrad Hurrell was awarded the opening try for the World All Stars after the ball appeared to fall short of the line.
There were also fears that there may be a penalty fest with referees cracking down on the play the ball and with shot clocks for scrums and line drop outs.
Rather than fast track the game, World All Stars captain Cameron Smith feared the new 35-second scrum shot clock would do the opposite this season after admitting he let it give his side a breather on Saturday night.
“I will be honest, I thought it gave us a chance to have a rest if anything,” Smith said.
In the only injury concerns, Jack Wighton suffered concussion when he attempted a 53rd minute try.
His Indigenous teammate Greg Bird was cleared of a head fracture after contact from Kane Evans.