All Stars Event Draws Great Support
The inaugural All Stars event held on Friday 12 February at Ziems Park, Corrimal, gave the 2016 Illawarra Coal League season a massive kick start. A big crowd packed into the venue and created a great atmosphere to welcome this new event to the local Rugby League calendar.
The Illawarra Women’s All Stars took on the Indigenous Female All Stars to get the night underway, and turned on a match that thrilled the crowd with some great ball movement and a surprising level of skill on display.
The main event saw the Illawarra Coal League All Stars take on the Illawarra Cutters. As expected the Illawarra Cutters were superior early on and used their size and fitness advantage to go out to a 34-0 halftime lead. The Illawarra Coal League All Stars improved their containment of the larger Cutters pack in the second half, and had a better share of possession which enabled them to trouble the Cutters and hold them to a 44-4 win.
Illawarra Division Board of Management Chairman, Ian Neill, suggested that event was a great success. “If you look at the crowd attendance, the spirit in which games where played, and the general mood in the ground, on those points alone you would say the All Stars event was an outstanding success”. Neil went on to suggest a full review of the event may determine if it becomes an annual event and if the current format remains. “We will conduct a review with all stakeholders including all Illawarra Coal League clubs and the Illawarra Cutters, before any decision is made on the continuation on the event on an annual basis.”
Whilst the Illawarra Coal League All Stars squad was made up primarily of younger players across all clubs, two veterans in Helensburgh duo prop Steve McCallum and hooker Grant Smith lead the young team around the park and showed great enthusiasm on the field.
Others who stood up and did their chances of Illawarra Division representative selection no harm included Dapto duo Justin Faughlin and Troy Pieper, and Wests lock Zac Blay.
The All Stars event also raised funds for the Unite for Kurt Appeal to support former Helensburgh junior Kurt Drysdale.