All-Stars Maori match is special: Chambers

Melissa Woods
Will Chambers is relishing the pre-season Indigenous clash with the Maori All Stars

Indigenous veteran Will Chambers says Friday night's first All-Stars match against New Zealand Maori has special significance due to the clash of cultures.

While the pre-season match has been a celebration of Australian indigenous culture since the first game in 2010, the introduction of the Maori team as their opponents this year in Melbourne will add more passion and tribalism, according to Chambers.

Northern Territory-raised Chambers has played for the Indigenous team once before, in 2015, when they played the NRL All-Stars, while they faced a World All-Stars team in 2016.

"Talking to the boys from the All-Stars (in previous years) they didn't have a heap of meaning to it," Chambers told AAP.

"They had a heap of great players playing together but they didn't have a meaning to it.

"Whereas the Maori boys have got the same purpose as us - they're playing for their culture, for their people.

"It will be a big game with two cultures playing each other and Indigenous cultures as well - I think it's a great concept."

Prop James Tamou controversially pledged his allegiance to Australia back in 2012 despite growing up in New Zealand until he was a teenager.

But the 30-year-old said he grabbed any opportunity he could to play for the Maori team, with the AAMI Park match his third appearance.

"As soon as they announced the concept I imagined the passion that would come out between both teams - it will be a good showcase for the fans," Tamou said.

"In the Maori games I've played we were curtain-raisers but to get a lone game here ... to be able to represent Maori again at this age is pretty special.

"We will show how our cultures collide and not only the excitement of football but how passionate the players can be about it."

Hooker Brandon Smith said playing in his first Maori team was a "proud moment" for his mum, who has Maori heritage, and he hoped it would become an annual event.

"My mother is a Maori and for her this is massive and she's very excited," the 22-year-old said.

"I'd like to see it every year - what better way is there to showcase two cultures and the abilities that they have - I think it's a really good idea."