Today’s announcement of a revamped NRL All-Stars match has opened the way for Australia-aligned players Kalyn Ponga, Valentine Holmes, James Tamou and Jordan McLean to represent the New Zealand Maori side against the Australian Indigenous next year.
The legendary Johnathan Thurston, an Indigenous All-Stars regular, would also qualify for the Maori if he wished to end his career with one last farewell appearance in the match next year.
The NRL has announced the Maori team – to be known as the New Zealand Maori Kiwis – will replace the former NRL All-Stars when the concept returns in its new form at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday, February 15.
Also announced in a first is a women’s All-Stars match between the Australian Indigenous All-Stars team and the New Zealand Maori Kiwi Ferns All-Stars.
Today’s move ignites discussion about a likely Maori side and the chance of the likes of Ponga, Holmes and McLean being involved.
So how about this for a possible side:
KALYN PONGA (Newcastle Knights)
VALENTINE HOLMES (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
GERARD BEALE (Vodafone Warriors)
DANE GAGAI (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Penrith Panthers)
KODI NIKORIMA (Brisbane Broncos)
BENJI MARSHALL (Wests Tigers)
JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
ISSAC LUKE (Vodafone Warriors)
JORDAN MCLEAN (North Queensland Cowboys)
TOHU HARRIS (Vodafone Warriors)
JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
ADAM BLAIR (Vodafone Warriors)
ELIJAH TAYLOR (Wests Tigers)
JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES (Sydney Roosters0
JAMES TAMOU (Penrith Panthers)
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)
COREY HARAWIRA-NAERA (Penrith Panthers)
RUSSELL PACKER (Wests Tigers)
PETA HIKU (Vodafone Warriors)
TE MAIRE MARTIN (North Queensland Cowboys)
DEAN WHARE (Penrith Panthers)
JORDAN KAHU (Brisbane Broncos)
KENNY BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
DYLAN WALKER (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
COREY NORMAN (Parramatta Eels)
JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)
JORDAN RAPANA (Canberra Raiders)
LEIVAHA PULU (Vodafone Warriors)
KEVIN PROCTOR (Gold Coast Titans)
GREG EASTWOOD (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
DANNY LEVI (Newcastle Knights)
SHAUN KENNY-DOWALL (Newcastle Knights)
BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)
JEREMEY MARSHALL-KING (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)