Lone Dragon Brett Morris might be the only St George Illawarra player headed for rugby league’s now traditional pipe-opener, but it will carry extra significance.
The Dragons flyer will make his second NRL All Stars appearance against the Indigenous All Stars, meaning he and twin Josh will play alongside each other in the last representative jumper they haven’t worn at the same time.
The Kiama juniors have already run on together for Country Origin, NSW and Australia.
Morris, a one-time All Star in 2011, said he was relishing the opportunity to feature alongside some superstars usually marked as Queensland or New Zealand adversaries.
‘‘You play enough footy against those guys, but an opportunity to play with them is always good,’’ he said ahead of the February 9 showdown at Suncorp Stadium.
‘‘It’s the first game of the year and everyone is pumped and ready to play. It’s a great game to be a part of and not only that, it’s the activities you do throughout the week in the community which is also very rewarding and very enjoyable.’’
Premiership-winning five-eighth Jamie Soward, a contender for an Indigenous All Stars spot, was outpolled by Brisbane recruit Scott Prince for a halves spot.
In the midst of what he described as one of the toughest pre-season regimes in years, Morris suggested the All Stars concept had gathered momentum since its 2010 inception.
‘‘I think that’s evidenced by the fact they’ve moved the game to Suncorp [Stadium] so they can get more people to watch it,’’ he said. ‘‘I think it’s become a showcase event and I think everyone really looks forward to the All Stars weekend.’’
NRL All Stars V Indigenous All Stars
Saturday, February 9, Suncorp Stadium
NRL All Stars
Billy Slater (Storm), Akuila Uate (Knights), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters), Josh Morris (Bulldogs), Brett Morris (Dragons), Benji Marshall (capt) (automatic selection) (Wests Tigers), Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs), James Tamou (Cowboys), Cameron Smith (automatic selection) (Storm), Ben Hannant (Broncos), David Taylor (Titans), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles), Paul Gallen (Sharks). Interchange: Robbie Farah (Tigers), Tim Grant (Panthers), David Shillington (Raiders), Feleti Mateo (Warriors), Jarryd Hayne (Eels). Coach’s selections: Willie Mason (Knights), Cooper Cronk (Storm).
Indigenous All Stars
Ben Barba (Bulldogs), Reece Robinson (Raiders), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs), Blake Ferguson (Raiders), Johnathan Thurston (capt) (Cowboys), Scott Prince (Broncos), George Rose (Sea Eagles), Travis Waddell (not contracted), Andrew Fifita (Sharks), Joel Thompson (Raiders), Greg Bird (Titans), Nathan Peats (Rabbitohs). Interchange: Ryan James (Titans), Aidan Sezer (Titans), Joel Romelo (Bulldogs), Jake Foster (Raiders). Coach’s selections: Dane Nielsen (Warriors), Timana Tahu (Knights), Jack Wighton (Raiders)