Warriors' Nielsen, Mateo in All Stars game

Last updated 18:19 16/01/2013

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Feleti Mateo and new signing Dane Nielsen will represent the New Zealand Warriors in the annual NRL and Indigenous All Stars clash at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on February 9.

Sydney-born former Tongan representative Mateo has been selected for the second time after winning a public vote while Nielsen, who joined the Warriors after winning the NRL Premiership with the Melbourne Storm last year, is one of Indigenous coach Laurie Daley's three coach's selections.

Mateo, who first played in the fixture in 2011, won the race for the club's spot ahead of Shaun Johnson, Konrad Hurrell and the club's 2012 player of the year Ben Matulino.

"It's a great honour and I'm really thankful to the fans who voted for me," said the ball-playing utility after being named on Wayne Bennett's interchange bench.

"There was tough competition from Shaun, Koni and Ben but I'm really excited to be given another shot. It was a great experience the first time and it'll be huge to be among so many outstanding players again."

Nielsen, of Torres Strait Islander descent, said his first All Stars game was "massive" for his family back home in Far North Queensland.

"It means so much to me and especially to our people," said the Queensland State of Origin representative.

Bennett sprung a surprise by naming former international Willie Mason as his coach's selection alongside Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk, while Daley had three choices and opted for Nielsen, Newcastle Knights veteran Timana Tahu and Canberra's Jack Wighton.

Mason makes his All Stars debut alongside Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs), James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys), Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm) and Tim Grant (Penrith Panthers).

Grant was originally the second highest-ranking Panther behind Michael Jennings but when the centre switched to the Sydney Roosters yesterday he had to be added to the bench at the expense of Kiwis and Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

The Roosters representative is now Kiwis centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

Daley's squad features seven newcomers: Wighton, Reece Robinson, Jake Foster (all Canberra), Aidan Sezer (Gold Coast Titans), Joel Romelo (Canterbury Bulldogs), Tahu and Nielsen.

More than 40,000 fans had their say via two online voting stages to select a representative from each of the 16 NRL Clubs in the 20-man NRL All Stars squad.

There was no limit on the number of Indigenous players a club could supply to Daley's line-up.

Kiwis captain Benji Marshall and Kangaroos counterpart Cameron Smith were again automatic choices in the All Stars team and five-eighth and hooker respectively. Marshall will captain the All Stars line-up.

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North Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston was the automatic selection for the Indigenous team.

NRL All Stars: Billy Slater (Storm), Akuila Uate (Knights), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters), Josh Morris (Bulldogs), Brett Morris (Dragons), Benji Marshall (capt) (automatic selection) (Wests Tigers), Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs), James Tamou (Cowboys), Cameron Smith (automatic selection) (Storm), Ben Hannant (Broncos), David Taylor (Titans), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles), Paul Gallen (Sharks) Interchange: Robbie Farah (Tigers), Tim Grant (Panthers), David Shillington (Raiders), Feleti Mateo (Warriors), Jarryd Hayne (Eels), Coach's Selections: Willie Mason (Knights), Cooper Cronk (Storm).

Indigenous All Stars: Ben Barba (Bulldogs), Reece Robinson (Raiders), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs), Blake Ferguson (Raiders), Johnathan Thurston (capt) (Cowboys), Scott Prince (Broncos), George Rose (Sea Eagles), Travis Waddell (Not contracted), Andrew Fifita (Sharks), Joel Thompson (Raiders), Greg Bird (Titans), Nathan Peats (Rabbitohs). Interchange: Ryan James (Titans), Aidan Sezer (Titans), Joel Romelo (Bulldogs), Jake Foster (Raiders), Coach's Selections: Dane Nielsen (Warriors), Timana Tahu (Knights), Jack Wighton (Raiders).


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