By Eden Richards (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra Dragons captain Gareth Widdop was involved in the NRL World All-Stars 12-8 win over the Indigenous All-Stars at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday.
A front-row master class from World All Stars Englishmen James Graham and Tom Burgess helped guide the world team to the hard-fought win.
The two workhorses ran for 176m and 166m respectively, dominating the ruck and the match in the process.
All that yardage up the middle presented the World All Stars with superior field position for majority of the match, with the Indigenous All Stars being forced to make 70 more tackles than their counterparts.
Graham’s star performance saw him rewarded with the Preston Campbell Medal for best on ground.
Graham’s World All Stars suffered a late blow with Chris Lawrence ruled out just prior to kick-off.
However, the loss of second-rower Lawrence was hardly noticed as the World All Stars put in a gritty team performance, seeing off a late flourish from the Indigenous All Star team.
The game began to open up in the third quarter as Jarrod Croker offloaded brilliantly to put World All Stars teammate Semi Radradra over in the corner - Croker then converted from the sideline to give the World All Stars a 10-4 lead.
An unbelievable try-saving tackle by Jordan Kahu prevented the Indigenous All Stars from hitting straight back as Ben Barba came within inches of putting Jack Wighton in to score.
Minutes later the World All Stars were gifted a penalty straight in front of the posts and Adam Reynolds duly converted to make it 12-4 in their favour.
The 4th quarter began with a bang for the Indigenous All Stars as a slick cut-out pass from Jamie Soward put Dane Gagai over untouched in the corner, the score 12-8 in favour of the World All Stars after 63 minutes.
Earlier, a fast-paced first quarter ended in a nil-all deadlock with neither team taking their chances.
The scoring finally opened in the 32nd minute when World All Stars winger Konrad Hurrell barged over from dummy-half to give the visitors a 4-0 lead.
The Indigenous All Stars returned serve in the 40th minute on the back of a brilliant team try with Will Chambers and Jamie Soward combing superbly to put front-rower Leilani Latu over 5 metres in from touch.
The score remained 4-all at the break in what was a tight 40-minute battle between two well-drilled defensive sides.
NRL World All Stars 12. Tries: Hurrell Radradra. Goals: Reynolds (2/2).
NRL Indigenous All Stars 8. Tries: Latu, Gagai. Goals: Soward (0/2).