The Chair of the National Indigenous Advisory Council to the National Rugby League Commission Linda Burney MP says the NRL All-Stars game is here to stay.
Despite talk of the event coming to an end earlier this season, Burney says the game will remain an essential part of the NRL calendar, thanks to the support of NRL clubs and players.
“The All-Stars of course is really important,” Burney told NITV’s League Nation Live.
“You’ll remember everyone last year in Brisbane there was some talk about All-Stars not continuing and what was amazing was not just response from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community but the response from the players and the clubs.
“They said 'no this game is important and we want it to stay'".
For the first time in its history, the All-Star game will move from Queensland and will be held in Newcastle, across three days.
The event will kick off on Thursday with a match-up between winners of the Koori Knockout and Murri Carnival, but for Burney the highlight will come on Friday, with a Women’s match taking centre stage before the NRL All-Stars game on the Saturday evening.
“It’s just extraordinary,” says Burney.
“What we’ve seen with the growth of women in Rugby League, in particular Queensland, but also in New South Wales, you just see some of the toughest, astounding football, there’s no way you can say 'well, women don’t play Rugby League hard, because they play Rugby League hard'”.