'What a joke': Rugby league world erupts over 'ridiculous' farce

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Benji Marshall and Latrell Mitchell, pictured here after the NRL All Stars game.
Players looked deflated after the NRL All Stars game ended in a 10-10 draw. Image: Getty

Laurie Daley has called for the NRL All Stars game to be played under Test and State of Origin rules after the annual clash ended in farcical scenes on Saturday night.

A Latrell Mitchell penalty goal in the 79th minute secured a 10-10 draw for the Indigenous All Stars in a willing, thrilling pre-season clash with the Maori All Stars.

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However players and fans appeared confused about why the match didn't go to golden point extra-time like a normal NRL match would.

Instead it ended in a draw and both sides shared the trophy.

"I didn't know that there wasn't a golden point. I just probably thought it was going to be just normal rules," Indigenous All Stars coach Daley said after the game.

"We wanted to actually go for the try but we don't know what happened on the field."

Daley added that, with the intensity of the game and how passionate players are, rule changes are warranted for an end result.

Maori's coach David Kidwell and Indigenous half Cody Walker, who captained Daley's side, also said they thought it was a golden point scenario.

But Kidwell said the result didn't matter so much as the importance of entertaining the crowd and looking at the wider reach the game has.

"Both teams went at each other, and when I mentioned that we're there to entertain, you know that was entertainment," he said.

"At the end of the day, the game is there for both our cultures, so we can be leaders in our communities, we can inspire the youth, and make sure that we're being good role models.

"It would have been good to win it, but, at the end of the day, you know there's a bigger picture and I think both cultures laid it out there tonight. I'm proud of my players."

However many fans and commentators were left fuming about the draw, calling for golden point in future All-Stars clashes.

Latrell Mitchell shines in All Stars clash

The Indigenous team spent most of Saturday night's game in Townsville playing from behind as the Maori pushed out to a 10-2 lead.

In his first match since August, South Sydney star Mitchell led a spirited fightback.

The fullback provided the assist for their only try with a deft kick for Alex Johnston to score then nailed the sideline conversion to make it 10-8 in the 64th minute, setting up an grandstand finish as the Indigenous side threatened to overrun their rivals.

The Indigenous and Maori All Stars players, pictured here with the trophy.
The Indigenous and Maori All Stars players pose together with the trophy. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

With his team clinging desperately to their lead in the final two minutes, Maori forward James Fisher-Harris was penalised for tackling the dummy half without the ball right on his goal line and Mitchell levelled the scores from in front.

The 20,206-strong crowd roared the Indigenous side into one more attack but the sound of the hooter ended the match.

Fisher-Harris was the recipient of Preston Campbell medal for best on field despite his late transgression while both teams will share the Arthur-Beetson trophy in light of the draw.

After three memorable clashes between these two teams in the past three years, the record now stands at one win apiece and one draw.

with AAP

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