NRL 2021: Maori vs Indigenous All Stars Under Threat After Border Ban

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.
Travis Meyn
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But time is running out to make that happen and the seven players are expected to be withdrawn from the game given they have not been in a biosecurity bubble and are unlikely to gain travel exemptions.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

Just withdraw the Storm players

Seven Storm All Stars ruled out due to COVID-19 border closure
Dan Walsh
Fri 12 Feb 2021, 04:31 PM
Seven of the Storm’s biggest names have been ruled out of the NRL All Stars clash due to the five-day Victorian lockdown announced on Friday.

Indigenous flyer Josh Addo-Carr and Maori All Stars reps Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Reimis and Brandon Smith, Jahrome Hughes and Nelson Asofa-Solomona have all been scratched from next Saturday’s season-opener in Townsville.

Replacement players will be sourced over the weekend before the two men’s sides meet on Monday.

For Maori coach David Kidwell it means almost a third of his squad are now unavailable after Storm and NRL officials spent Friday trying every avenue to get the players into Queensland.

Attempts to secure government travel exemptions proved unsuccessful after Queensland acting premier Steven Miles announced on that the state’s borders will be closed at 1am Saturday morning to anyone who has been in the greater Melbourne area in the past 14 days.

The stance follows a five-day “short, sharp circuit breaker” lockdown, as described by Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, being brought in by the government in response to 13 COVID-19 cases being linked to a quarantine hotel.

Victoria’s lockdown comes into effect in a bid to quell an outbreak of the UK strain of coronavirus linked to the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn.

Jahrome Hughes and Josh Addo-Carr at the 2020 All Stars game. ©NRL Photos

Both All Stars teams were originally scheduled to meet on Monday before a week of training and community visits leading into next Saturday’s clash.

Replacements can be sourced from Queensland clubs and NSW-based teams, including the Warriors who are training at the Central Coast, given there are no restrictions on crossing that state border.

The Warriors also have Maori-eligible players Kodi Nikorima, Tohu Harris and Chanel Harris-Tavita in their Terrigal camp after new coach Nathan Brown opted not to release the trio for the All Stars outing.

Warriors forwards Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Josh Curran have been named in the Indigenous All Stars side.

The drama continues ongoing issues for the Storm around the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Melbourne.

Addo-Carr and George Jennings spent part of their pre-season in Lennox Head after the former did not cross the Victorian border when it was closed on New Years eve, while the latter returned to NSW for the birth of his son.

Nine Storm teammates including Ryan Papenhuyzen and Dale Finucane made their own mad dash back to the Victorian capital before Christmas to avoid being placed in quarantine for the start of pre-season training.

Meanwhile, the NSWRL has announced the round two UNE SG Ball Cup match between Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Victoria Thunderbolts at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday has been cancelled after Victoria went into lockdown


I would assume this could put our rnd 1 game at risk if isolation orders are still in place. NRL probs need to get the storm out of Victoria soon with the season only 4 weeks away.


Round 1 - Thursday 11th March
Storm v Rabbitohs
AAMI Park, Melbourne


At this point it’s a 5 day lockdown and round 1 is a month away. I think the NRL will establish training and travel bubbles if the situation deteriorates. We should be ok.
The tennis will be unaffected down there with the isolation arrangements already in place.


Yep just hope NRL on top of this. Thought those players in all stars would have been put into a bubble last week just incase something like this happened

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You may as well put them in a bubble 24/7 just in case. Last week who knew this was going to happen.

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Souths should refuse to go to Melbourne

And ask the Storm to go into a 21 day Quaranteen before Round 1 clash

New covid strain has a longer incubation period

Wont be able to play the match on the Sunshine Coast either

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They are looking at a few different scenarios. Don’t be surprised to see our round one game played up here and play them down there in round 9.

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