The 2021 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars will be played in Townsville for the first time in the event’s history.
The NRL announced today that the match between the Indigenous and Maori male and female teams would be played at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday, February 20, 2021.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said it was the first time a major rugby league event would be held at the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
“North Queensland is rugby league heartland and I know this game will mean a lot to the local community,’’ he said.
“All Stars is an event like no other on our calendar. It brings people together and helps us celebrate First Nations people and rugby league’s incredible diversity.
“All Stars is more than a game, it’s a week of community engagement, education and cultural awareness. It means so much to our playing group and to the Australian Rugby League Commission.
“We’re also excited to be taking our first major event to Townsville’s new stadium. This state-of-the-art venue will provide the region with the opportunity to host some of our best events.”
Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council Chair, Katrina Fanning said the Harvey Norman All Stars would continue to grow with a presence in Townsville, Queensland.
“The All Stars concept has been such an important initiative since 2010,” Ms Fanning said.
“It has changed lives from Gold Coast and Brisbane to Newcastle and Melbourne. It makes so much sense to include Townsville – an incredibly important rugby league region but also one with such strong links to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
Tourism Minister and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said securing the NRL All Stars was a significant coup for Townsville and the Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
“The Palaszczuk Government delivered the Queensland Country Bank Stadium for the North Queensland community with major events like the NRL All Stars clash in mind,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“NRL All Stars is the first of a series of planned events that will see this world-class stadium shine in 2021 and support more jobs for North Queensland’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
“Tourism and Events Queensland has a fantastic working relationship with the NRL which has been instrumental in securing the All Stars showcase for the North.
“Since the 2010 debut, Queensland has hosted seven of nine NRL All Stars events and Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville will make it eight from ten.
“The All Stars matchup is a celebration of cultural history and in the Year of Indigenous Tourism, I can’t think of a better place than the North to play this major event.”
Harvey Norman Chief Executive Katie Page added: "Harvey Norman has been the proudest Naming Rights partner of the NRL All Stars since 2010. All Stars showcases some of the best in the game and provides a lauded, sporting stage for the Indigenous and Maori cultures to be acknowledged and applauded for the depth of talent, heritage and community they bring to rugby league - at every level.
"Now, the 2021 event will see the All Stars elevated once again as the contest of both the male and female Indigenous and Maori teams in a spectacular double-header and first major NRL event of the year, hosted for the first time, aptly, in Townsville.
"Johnathan Thurston, the winner of the inaugural Preston Campbell medal, calls Townsville home. Corban McGregor is proudly representing her Maori community and is the ultimate role model for the entire Women's competition. These are the icons of rugby league who distinguish All Stars as the ultimate tribute to their cultural heritage and their immense collective contribution to the game."
The NRL also revealed the jersey design for the men’s and women’s Indigenous teams. The jerseys were based on the concept and artwork of Chern’ee Sutton, a contemporary Indigenous artist and a Kalkadoon woman from the Mount Isa area, who had designed the 2015, 2016 and 2017 men’s Indigenous jerseys.
Depicted in the artwork for the 2021 design are a Rainbow Serpent representing more than 65,000 years of Indigenous life, history and culture in Australia, a shield and two spears representing the defensive and attacking skills the Indigenous All Stars, 16 different coloured circles representing the 16 NRL teams sending the players to join the squad, and kangaroo and emu footprints representing the NRL’s commitment to Reconciliation, which is always moving forward.
The women’s Indigenous and Maori teams will play in the opening match of the double header, followed by the men’s match.
Tickets will be on sale for NRL Club Ticketed Members at 10am (AEST) today (Wednesday, December 9), and Non-Ticketed NRL Club Members at 1pm (AEST) today.
General Public tickets will be on sale at 10am (AEST) tomorrow (Thursday, December 10) via nrl.com/tickets. Tickets will be available from just $25 for Adults and $50 for families.
All-Stars will feature two new exclusive seating zones – the Try Zone and the Playmaker Zone.
The All Stars matches will be broadcast live on the Nine Network, Fox League, SKY New Zealand and on NRL Live Pass.
The 2021 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars is proudly supported by the Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, along with Stadiums Queensland.
Online voting will be carried out to select the Indigenous and Maori men’s teams in January via nrl.com.