Naming a Super League All Stars team capable of competing with those down under

The All Stars game has always been a key fixture at the start of the year in the NRL and is seen as the beginning of the rugby league calendar down under even taking place before trial matches.

This year, after being unable to take place in 2021 due to the pandemic, the game will take place on 12 February at a new venue in the shape of the CommBank Stadium in Sydney according to the Daily Telegraph having previously being predominately held in Gold Coast.

The showpiece event sees the very best players in the NRL pitted against one another as the Indigenous All Stars take on sides such as the World All Stars or the Maori All Stars like they have done in recent years. With it’s triumphant return waiting, it got us think about whether a Super League All Stars team would be able to beat the All Stars down under. So, with a view to have a bit of fun, here’s our Super League All Stars team.

Fullback: Sam Tomkins

The reigning Man of Steel simply had to feature in this side. 2021 was arguably his finest ever campaign despite how electric he was back when he last scooped the biggest individual honour in this hemisphere in 2012. With 20 try assists and 10 tries, only one player was directly involved in more tries in Super League last year. With NRL experience and always one of England’s best players on the international scene, he’s more than enough to compete with the best of the NRL.

Wingers: Tommy Makinson and David Fusitu’a

2018 was the year these two peaked. That season, Tommy Makinson was awarded the Golden Boot after stunning performances against New Zealand as he inspired England to a series win at the expense of the Kiwis. He was subsequently considered the best winger on the planet which he then proved finishing 2019 as the league’s top scorer and since he has continued to cement his status as one of the finest finishers on the planet which is something David Fusitu’a can lay claim to as well. Leeds’ latest signing was the NRL’s top scorer in 2018. New Zealand Warriors fans were disappointed to see him make the Super League switch and that shows that he was still considered one of the best wingers down under, now in England he could be one of the stars of 2022.

Centres: Mark Percival and Toby King

When fit, Mark Percival is a stunning player capable of conjuring up moments of magic and he has down that all throughout his career since announcing himself with a brace against Leeds back in 2013. A try scorer in the 2019 Grand Final and a three-time member of the Super League Dream Team, he’s been one of the finest centres in the league for years. Meanwhile, Toby King has also proven to be one of the best centres in the league over the last couple of years with great physicality and skill scoring 10 tries and registering 5 assists in just 18 Super League appearances last year.

Halfbacks: Jonny Lomax and Mitchell Pearce

Jonny Lomax has been one of the foundations of St Helens’ three-peat. Perhaps Super League’s most consistent and most important player since 2018, he can organise and create and is the exact kind of player who would cause the top players in Australia problems. Alongside him I’ve gone for Catalans’ exciting new signing Mitchell Pearce. Having played in the NRL as recently as 2021 and having won the State of Origin in 2019, he is a top class scrum-half and actually has more NRL appearances than any player currently in the competition itself.

Props: Alex Walmsley and Mikolaj Oledzki

Alex Walmsley has been Super League’s best prop over the last eight years. Near unstoppable on occasion, hardworking and capable of scoring and creating a try, he’s one of the best props on the planet and would certainly be able to compete with the Australians. Joining him in the front row is a player many believe will develop into a prop who will soon stir up interest from NRL clubs. A powerful runner, Oledzki has developed into one of the finest and most exciting props to watch in the league over the last couple of years.

Hooker: Daryl Clark

An electric hooker, Daryl Clark has been subject to NRL interest in the past and has all the attributes to compete with the finest number nines on the planet due to his explosive running from dummyhalf and his ability to organise as well as that.

Second-Rowers: John Bateman and Sione Mata’utia

In John Bateman, Super League is blessed with one of the best backrowers in the world even if he struggled to capture his best form in 2021. A member of the 2019 Dally M Team of the Year down under and a Grand Finalist both in England and Australia, he’s a fantastic forward and one I expect to have a big 2022. The same could be said of Sione Mata’utia. The 2021 Grand Final winner really started to find his feet at the end of last season and was at times superb for the Saints. As Australia’s youngest international, it’s clear he has the talent to be one of the best backrowers in the world.

Loose-Forward: Morgan Knowles

A member of the Super League Dream Team for the last three seasons becoming the best loose-forward in the competition with a wide range of attributes which make him the ideal 13 and have seen him burst onto the international scene. He’s only going to get better and could easily shine in the NRL one day.

Substitutes: Jake Connor, Agnatius Paasi, Sam Kasiano, Curtis Sironen

On the bench, I’ve gone for the two most devastating impact subs in the league in the shape of Agnatius Paasi and Sam Kasiano. Playing for last year’s top two, they often dismantled tired defences firing their sides to success in 2021. I’ve also included Curtis Sironen. A player with great versatility and buckets of NRL experience as recent as last season, he’d give a lot to the side appearing from the bench as would Jake Connor. Daryl Clark’s ability to play 80 minutes meant I felt a second hooker wasn’t needed and instead looked for a player who could offer something a little different from the bench and Connor’s wide skillset would likely enable him to torment a tired defence.

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