A Josh Addo-Carr double and some serious defensive grit have helped the Indigenous All-Stars beat their Maori counterparts 22-14 in Townsville.

Far from the free-flowing attacking football fans at North Queensland Stadium were perhaps hoping for, gutsy goal-line defensive work carried the Indigenous side to their victory as they withstood a Maori barrage.

Two tries in 10 minutes for Indigenous winger Addo-Carr earned his side an early lead, before a brilliant put-down from flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow had them 16-8 clear late in the first half.

Halfback Nicho Hynes threw a superb cut-out pass to winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira late in the contest to seal the win.

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A starring display from Hynes’s halves partner Braydon Trindall would have had Cronulla fans salivating ahead of the NRL season, the duo combining beautifully with the five-eighth creating two try assists from his boot.

But Trindall left the game early clutching his shoulder, having delivered a huge hit to stop a rampaging Maori edge Jack Howarth.

Indigenous captain Latrell Mitchell received medical attention on his knee, but returned to see out the game.

He was never far from the action early, his handling error allowing Maori skipper Joe Tapine to produce the game’s opening point with a hulking effort that saw him break three tackles.

A man does a haka before a rugby league match

A mighty effort from captain Joseph Tapine wasn’t enough to win it for the Maori.(Getty Images: Ian Hitchcock )

But Mitchell quickly made amends, cruising up to the Maori line to put Addo-Carr through to score in the corner.

Canterbury star Addo-Carr had a second soon after when Maori fullback Jesse Arthars bobbled a Trindall grubber and allowed the winger to gather and score.

The Maori side dominated territory, were tackled 51 times inside the opposition 20m compared with the Indigenous side’s 17, and ran for nearly 300 metres more, but lacked precision deep in attack.

Perhaps the ultimate moment of desperation came when Maori prop Xavier Willison looked clean through to score late in the third term but was dragged down by the much smaller Bailey Biondi-Odo as the Indigenous desperation continued.

Willison scored a consolation try with the final play of the game.

Tapine was close to best afield with 114m and six tackle busts to go with his try. Willison also impressed with 91m.

Indigenous props Shaquai Mitchell (114m) and Josh Kerr (107m) completed a great amount of work in the middle.

Chapman runs riot as Indigenous All Stars romp home in women’s clash

Two stunning breakaway tries by powerhouse centre Jaime Chapman and a kicking masterclass from Kirra Dibb have lifted the Indigenous women to a 26-4 thrashing of the Maori All-Stars in Townsville.

Twice slicing through the Maori line and running half the field to score, Chapman’s contributions helped the Indigenous side cash in on their dominance on Friday night.

But Indigenous No.7 Dibb picked up the Trish Hina Medal for best afield, taking control of the territory battle via her kicking game while icing the match with a delicate grubber that allowed winger Kimberley Hunt to score her second try.

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Errors ruined any momentum the Maori side was able to find, as they completed just 46 per cent of their sets in the first half in falling into a 16-0 hole.

Chapman quickly snuffed any thoughts of a comeback, charging 60 metres to put her side 22-0 clear early in the second half.

Reigning Dally M medallist Tamika Upton got the show on the road early, her clever grubber finding Indigenous teammate Shaylee Bent for the game’s first points.

Dibb finished with 253m kicking, with a stunning 40-20 in the first half helping her side take over early.

“We were geeing her up a bit before the game, (saying) ‘Kick it to the moon’,” Indigenous co-captain Tallisha Harden said.

“Her putting up those bombs she’s renowned for, she just executed today, she took control of the game when she needed to take a lot of pressure off everyone else.

“I could hear (the Maori captains) and all the girls go up to her after the game and really congratulate her on a good performance and that’s what I love about our two teams, there is just so much respect for each other.”


Look back how all the action unfolded in both games in our blog. 

Signing off

That’s it from me everyone, hope you all enjoyed it and you’re all ready for another big season of NRL action. See you in Las Vegas (not really, I’m not going, but still!)

Take it easy.

Braydon Trindall wins man of the match

A well deserved accolade for Trindall, he had some great touches out there. If he can replicate that combination with Nicho Hynes at club level the Sharks could be in for a lot of joy in 2023.

Fulltime: Indigenous All Stars 22 defeat Maori All Stars 14

Willison, who has been really impressive for the Maori, crashes over from close range as the siren sounds and Dane Gagai puts the conversion over. The game was gone, but a nice consolation score.

A super defensive effort from the Indigenous side set that one up, they put in a terrific display and their communication and contact was first class. It’s a real credit to coach Ron Griffiths, he seems to have really drawn the team together this week.

71st minute: Indigenous All Stars 22 Maori All Stars 8

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The Indigenous All Stars get a fine reward for their defensive effort as Hynes floats a great pass out to Khan-Pereria and he slides around the outside of Pompey to get into the promised land. Great finish, delightful footy, Hynes converts and the Indigenous lead 22-8.

Third quarter time: Stat round-up

Let me throw some numbers at you.

*The Maori lead the possession split 64-36

*The Indigenous have made over 300 tackles, the Maori have made less than 200

A heroic effort from the Indigenous team.

60th minute: Maori chance

Khan-Periera knocks on a nothing clearing kick to give the Maori yet another chance but they’re denied AGAIN! Khan-Periera makes amends with a great tackle on Arthars, who looked tryline bound after a cut-out pass from Dylan Walker. Arthars gets it back inside to Walker but he knocks it on in contact. Brilliant effort from the Indigenous side!

54th minute: Maori chance

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Grant drops it around midfield, Willison picks up the scraps and takes off! Biondi-Odo produces a great defensive effort to bring him down centimetres short, Martin goes blindside to Timoko and he just has to catch it and fall….but he drops it! A chance gone begging!

Second half begins

Let’s do it all again – can’t wait to see how it shakes out.

The Maori are camped on the Indigenous line for a good five minutes but their attack is disjointed and the Indigenous defenders – especially Josh Addo-Carr – made some superb reads until Nikorima puts it down. Good stuff!

Halftime: Indigenous All Stars 16 Maori All Stars 8

Pretty good half of footy all things considered – the Indigenous side look great when their playmakers link together, especially Hynes and Trindall, while the Maori look strong when they’re punching around the ruck. Still anyone’s game!

31st minute: Indigenous All Stars 16 Maori All Stars 8

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Man, Tabuai-Fidow is something else. We’ve all seen him use his speed so many times we shouldn’t be surprised when it happens, but it still makes you shake your head.

Trindall puts a kick in, finding some space in the Maori in-goal but it’s not a great bounce and it’ll surely go dead…..until Tabuai Fidow flashes through and completes a very difficult put-down. Great try. Hynes converts and the Indigenous side leads 16-8.

24th minute: Indigenous All Stars error

A Te Maire Martin error puts the Indigenous All Stars on the attack and they get a six again but Jordan Grant forces an offload straight afterwards and it goes to ground. The conditions are still a problem out there.

22nd minute: Maori NO TRY

The Maori are in again….maybe? Jack Howarth hit a hole off Nikorima, spun out of a tackle and came down short of the line. He ended up over the line but was it a double movement? I say yes, his momentum had stopped….and the video ref agrees. Good call.

Cultural challenges: Replay

Told you I’d find them for you. Watch it again while we’re waiting for the footy to come back

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20th minute: Indigenous All Stars 10 Maori All Stars 8

Hughes is hit late by Staggs about 30 metres out and the Maori decide to take the two. Weird one – it’s right on quarter-time but the quarters don’t resume with kick-offs? The Maori would have kept possesion after the break. Doesn’t matter I guess, Nikorima kicks it and it’s 8-6 to the Indigenous All Stars. 

17th minute: Indigenous All Stars 10 Maori All Stars 6

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After a few sets in the grind it’s the Maori who crack first – after some great line speed and pressure from the Indigenous side, Nikorima puts one out on the full.

On the fourth tackle Trindall goes to the line out the back, rolls a kick through and Arthars fumbles it. Addo-Carr is there to pounce on the loose ball for his second try. Hynes and Trindall linked up to create the attacking speed there, a good sign for Sharks fans.

Hynes makes no mistake from touch and it’s Indigenous All Stars 10-6.

7th minute: Maori All Stars 6 Indigenous All Stars 4

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Arthars steps on the sideline while fielding the kick-off and two tackles later the Indigenous side strikes through Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr as the Fox dives over in the corner. Great response, narrows the gap to 6-4. 

5th minute: Maori All Stars 6 Indigenous All Stars 0

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After a couple of sets of back-and-forth Nikorima puts up a bomb and Dane Gagai times his chase on Latrell Mitchell beautifully, forcing an error and putting the Maori on the attack.

A few tackles later Joseph Tapine hits the line, spins and powers through three defenders to score! What an effort from the skipper and a great start for the Maori. Nikorima converts and it’s 6-0 Maori.

KICKOFF: We’re away!

Here we go! Game on! Indigenous kick off, running left to right.

Cultural challenges

Leo Thompson, Kodi Nikorima and Dane Gagai lead the opening of the haka before Joseph Tapine takes over – don’t forget Gagai has played for the Indigenous All Stars in the past.

They advance on the Indigenous side until they’re nose-to-nose and needless to say, it’s pretty electrifying.

Braydon Trindall, Kierren Moseley, Alofiana Khan-Periera and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow lead the beginning of the war cry for the Indigenous side before Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr lead them forward. Then Tabuai-Fisow and Khan-Periera lead a TSI portion of the cry before the whole team brings it home.

It was magnificent. Always a highlight of the match.

Teams are entering the field

Both teams are about to head out there and then we’ll have the cultural challenges. Once again, I’ll get you some video of it as soon as I can.