Indigenous All Stars win levels score
Saturday 9 February 2013 10:34 PM
Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston kicked off 2013 in style by inspiring the Indigenous All Stars' dominant 32-6 win over the NRL All Stars at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The Indigenous squad’s captain formed a deadly combination with reigning Dally M Medallist Ben Barba, who scored three tries, in front of 41,021 fans in the season opener.
The victory brought the Indigenous All Stars level at 2-2 in the series ledger with their NRL counterparts, whose lineup this year included Cowboys’ Test and Origin prop James Tamou for the first time.
The feel-good vibe in the Indigenous camp threatened to turn sour when Thurston was felled by Willie Mason contesting a bomb in the dying minutes.
However, the NQ five-eighth eventually regained his feet and gave a thumbs up to team staff.
Barba had a hat-trick by half time to allow the Indigenous squad to set up an 18-6 lead at the main break.
He crossed twice in the opening quarter and grabbed a third after swooping on to a Thurston chip kick at the 30-minute mark.
His first try in the 10th minute came after a powerful run and offload by centre Justin Hodges and a grubber kick, again off Thurston's boot.
His second came after the quarter-time siren following some slick passing as the ball swept through the hands of Thurston, Greg Bird and Reece Robinson before Barba appeared from nowhere.
The NRL All Stars' only points came via their fullback Jarryd Hayne after a wild overhead pass on the final tackle by Indigenous winger Blake Ferguson.
Hayne scooped up the loose ball 60 metres out and flew down the left touchline to level the scores at 6-all.
Indigenous prop George Rose produced the season's first shoulder charge in the 37th minute and was penalised for his shot on Josh Morris.
Robinson picked up in the second half where Barba left off, crossing for tries in the 46th, 71st and 78th minutes as the Indigenous All Stars finished with a bang.
Tamou gained 85 metres in his nine hit-ups to go with 14 tackles in a well beaten NRL All Stars team.