Maori All Stars forward Joseph Tapine believes “it’s up to the players” to push their availability for the All Stars fixture as the pre-season event looks set to go ahead without some of its biggest names.
Kalyn Ponga announced just over a week ago he wouldn’t be available for the Maori side, preferring to focus his attention on the Knights.
Ezra Mam, Reece Walsh, Bradman Best, Jack Wighton, Tyrell Sloan, Alex Johnston and Selwyn Cobbo are all unavailable too.
The Sydney Morning Herald also revealed the Roosters had many an application with the NRL for their players to skip the All Stars match due to their trial going ahead the next day.
With teams set to be announced next week, there’ll be plenty of intrigue around who’s named for the Indigenous and Maori sides.
Tapine, who has captained the Maori side previously, explained he has the full backing of his coach Ricky Stuart to feature in the match.
“I’m lucky enough that Stick (Stuart) allows me to make the decision and I know my body,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“I think it’s up to the players to push that on coaches as well …. Stick’s always encouraged me whenever we’ve played that game.”