NRL 2021: Maori vs Indigenous All Stars under threat after border ban
The Maori All Stars team is set to be decimated with the Queensland Government closing the border to Melbourne residents.
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
February 12, 2021 - 1:50PM
The NRL believes next week’s All Stars game will go ahead despite the code facing a mad scramble to save the match in Townsville, with seven Melbourne Storm players in danger of being rubbed out by Queensland’s border ban.
The Maori All Stars team is set to be decimated following the Queensland Government’s decision to introduce a ban on residents from Greater Melbourne entering the state for at least 14 days.
Melbourne residents have been plunged into a snap five-day lockdown as a COVID cluster threatens to send Victoria into a third wave of the virus.
The Maori All Stars team has been decimated after a border ban was introduced into Queensland. Picture: AAP.
The decision prompted the Queensland Government to introduce a minimum two-week ban on Melbourne residents entering the state from 1am Saturday.
The All Stars game will be played next Saturday, February 20, at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville. The players were scheduled to go into camp tomorrow.
The Maori team currently features Reimis Smith, Jahrome Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Brandon Smith, Kenny Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
Winger Josh Addo-Carr is the only Storm player in the Indigenous All Stars team.
The NRL is assessing its options and was looking at flying the players to Queensland immediately on Friday.
But time is running out to make that happen and the seven players are expected to be withdrawn from the game given they have not been in a biosecurity bubble and are unlikely to gain travel exemptions.
The NRL believe the All Stars clash will still be able to go ahead despite the border closures. Picture: AAP.
The NRL believes the game is not in danger of being cancelled and they can find replacement players in time. There are currently no restrictions on NSW residents
However it is potentially a major blow to the Maori team just a week out from the game.
The border ban has also thrown a spanner in the works of a pre-season trial between Melbourne’s second-string side and the New Zealand Warriors at Redcliffe next weekend