All Stars Wrap up with Joel Thompson
Wednesday 13 February 2013 10:15 AM
Indigenous All Stars back-rower Joel Thompson believes that the terrific performances by his five Canberra Raiders teammates in the All Stars fixture on Saturday forecasts an exciting season ahead for the club.
The Raiders had the highest representation of any club with Blake Ferguson, Jake Foster, Reece Robinson and Jack Wighton joining Thompson in the Indigenous side which took on an NRL All Stars side featuring David Shillington.
“It’s a great sign for Canberra with the form that all the players showed in the game,” said Thompson.
“We’ve got a lot of depth this year and it’s a good thing to have. It causes a bit of a headache for Furnsie [Coach David Furner] because there’s so many quality players to pick from and you can see that from the trial against Melbourne as well.”
The backline of the Green Machine is sure to cause a selection drama for Furner (albeit one he is thankful to have) after Robinson and Wighton’s All Stars debuts.
Wighton didn’t look out of place one iota as he shared the spotlight with Ferguson and Robinson in the Indigenous backline although Robinson undoubtedly stole the show though.
His hat-trick of tries and electrifying scoots out of dummy half were a distinct feature of the Indigenous side’s 32-6 win at Suncorp Stadium.
“Reece Robinson is something special there’s no doubt about that,” said Thompson.
“He was awesome for us last year and was great again in the All Stars game along with Jacko and Fergo. It’s pretty special to watch and exciting for Raiders fans.”
Whilst the backline snared most of the spotlight, the underrated Indigenous forwards drew particular praise from Coach Laurie Daley meaning that selecting the back-row for the Green Machine doesn’t get any easier after Thompson made over 30 tackles and the underrated Foster toiled away relentlessly in the middle.
“We rotated our forwards a lot through the middle and they just kept turning up," said Daley.
“They were great defensively. It's a good sign when they go back to their clubs because they looked fit and ready to go and they were awesome were awesome.”
Despite Thompson having been a part of previous All Stars set ups, unlike debutants Foster, Robinson and Wighton, he believes that this camp was particularly enjoyable as he was joined by his Raiders teammates.
“It was good to be a part of it again and this year was very special for me. It’s always good to have the boys around, especially Fergy he’s always good for a laugh.
“It was something special. The crowd was unbelievable and the atmosphere was really good. To be able to come away with the win topped it all off."
The Raiders sextet have all come out of the game unscathed by injury and thankful that their arduous pre-season has left them in good stead for round one.
“I played a fair few minutes in the All Stars game and felt pretty good so I’m happy to play this weekend if Furnsie wants me to play.
“I was speaking to a few of the boys and they felt the same way in regards to our fitness levels. We’ve had a pretty tough pre-season and we’re reaping the benefits of it. We’re all feeling pretty strong and fit and I think that we’re in for a big year.”