South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds has replaced returning NRL star Sam Burgess in one of six changes to the World All Stars team for next week’s clash with the Indigenous side.
Reynolds, Jeremy Smith (Newcastle), Michael Ennis (Cronulla), Jordan Kahu (Brisbane) and Chris Lawrence (Wests Tigers) have all been added to Wayne Bennett’s squad for the February 13 encounter in Brisbane.
Burgess, Trent Hodkinson (Newcastle), Tyson Frizell (St George-Illawarra), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers) and Lachlan Maranta (Brisbane) have all withdrawn.
Burgess was marked to make his rugby league homecoming from union by taking on club teammate and Indigenous captain Greg Inglis in the annual fixture but is still to reach peak fitness.
“He’s still doing a bit of longer stuff at the moment, before he jumps into a bit of speed,” Inglis said of his teammate on Tuesday.
Hodkinson has only just returned to full training after recovering from wrist surgery, while Frizell recently went under the knife to repair a disc bulge in his back.
Maranta is out for up to three months with a fractured wrist.
Farah has seemingly been given a hall pass after winning free tickets to next Monday’s Super Bowl 50 in the United States.
He reportedly paid $15,000 in a charity auction to win a seat at the major event, to be played at Levi’s Stadium, home of Jarryd Hayne’s San Francisco 49ers.
It is the first time since the game’s inception in 2010 that the Indigenous team will take on a World All Stars team, originally planned to have a minimum four players from Australia, New Zealand and England.
It also includes at least one player, and a maximum two, from each NRL club.
The match will be played at Suncorp Stadium.