It’s only in its second year in Group 10, but the annual pre-season clash between the Indigenous All Stars and the Group 10 All Stars is destined to be a yearly highlight on the footy calendar.
Indigenous All Stars and Blayney Bears coach Will Ingram believes this Saturday’s match is going to be a lot closer than the result from last year’s game, when the Indigenous boys trounced the Group 10 side 52-24.
“With the side we’ve got and the enthusiasm that the guys are showing, we’ll win by enough,” he said.
Choosing a side from the large pool of indigenous talent hasn't been too difficult a task, Ingram said, and there was one player he targeted right from the beginning.
“I’ve got last year’s Dave Scott Medallist, Hamish Bryant, from the Mudgee Dragons, as prop because after his performance in the grand final last year, I couldn’t not pick him,” he added.
Former Orange CYMS prop Simon Osborne, who’ll play with Bathurst Panthers this season, is also in Ingram’s side to play on Saturday.
While Western Rams representative Warren Williams will be a key figure in the halves for Ingram.
Alex Pettit, Josh Rainbow, Chris Rainbow and Lawrence Fogg are the four indigenous players from the Bears side that will run out on home soil.
Ingram said that despite only having one training session, he’s expecting it all to come together on the day.
“We had one session last week and it only went for about 40 minutes but everything was spot on,” he said.
“But as you can expect with All Stars once they all get together, the top-line players, they really know how to put the plays together.”
The match will kick-off at 4pm at King George Oval on Saturday, with Bears president Adam Hornby expecting a bumper crowd.
“It’s a great day and they have some fantastic activities on like the smoking ceremony before the game and that will blow people away,” Hornby said.
Hornby doesn’t care who wins the match, just as long as Bears players come out in one piece.
“We just don’t want any of them to get injured, that’s all,” he said.
After last years cancelled matches and the financial strain that caused, Hornby is thrilled by what Saturday’s match will mean for the club, and also what it means for the other smaller clubs.
“We’re expecting about 1000 people to show up and we want to keep this all with the smaller clubs like ourselves and Cowra,” he said.
Gates open at 11.30am with Blayney taking on the New Era Cup Development side in a league tag game from 12.30pm.
Orange CYMS take on Villages United in a first division trial before the main game.
INDIGENOUS ALL STARS: 1 Jeremy Gordon (Ngemba), 2 Caleb Lewis (Wankumarra), 3 Josh Rainbow (Butchulah), 4 Blake Lawson (Wiradjuri), 5 Jacob Sutherland (Gomeroi), 6 Warren Williams (Wiradjuri), 7 Claude Gordon (Ngemba), 8 William Ingram (Wiradjuri), 9 Shannon Peters (Kamilaroi), 10 Simon Osborne (Wiradjuri), 11 Alex Pettit (Wiradjuri), 12 Jono Van Veen (Gundagurra), 13 Hamish Bryant (Wiradjuri); 14 Ben Gunn (Wiradjuri), 15 Joe Bugg (Wiradjuri), 16 Corey Willmott (Wiradjuri), 17 Chris Rainbow (Butchulah), 18 Joe Gunn (Wiradjuri), 19 Matt Fuller (Wiradjuri).