The spectacle may have been convincing enough but Indigenous coach Laurie Daley still felt compelled to ram home the All Stars game’s importance to the NRL after Saturday night’s pulsating showcase event.
Daley reckoned the World All Stars’ gripping 12-8 win over his Indigenous side at Suncorp Stadium should have all but guaranteed the concept’s future.
ARL Commission chairman John Grant also tried to put out bushfires by claiming the game had been locked in for the next few years.
Yet Daley revealed he would still be pushing for answers on the game’s longevity amongst the powers that be in the coming weeks.
“We will be pretty vocal in our thoughts about keeping this game alive and make sure it is played every year,” Daley said.
Daley admitted fans had voted with their feet after a 37,339-strong crowd arrived at Suncorp Stadium for the All Stars’ sixth edition.
Yet Daley reckoned a change of venue may provide a shot in the arm for the concept.
“I think if you took it to North Queensland you would get a full stadium and at Canberra you would get a full stadium,” he said.
“There’s a lot of places you can take it.”
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 next All Stars match will be held with the NRL’s two-year Queensland government contract to host the clash expiring this season.
Indigenous captain Greg Inglis took 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.
“It was a bit unfortunate that the comment came out before this week started,” he said.
“I think they should have waited until after the week to be honest.”