THE future of the All Stars concept is secure if the response of the Ipswich public yesterday is anything to go by.
The superstars from the NRL All Stars and Indigenous All Stars met the fans, joined in colouring-in activities and held junior clinics in the Ipswich Mall and Ipswich City Square as part of the lead-up to Saturday night's All Stars clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Ipswich's Shanice Masso waited in line patiently to see Johnathan Thurston and said the event was "great for the community".
The teams play for the Arthur Beetson Trophy and the late rugby league legend would have been thrilled with the response of the Ipswich public. His son, Mark Beetson, said his dad "would have been very proud".
"Before dad passed away he wrote the foreword for the Western Corridor NRL bid, which is run out at Ipswich by Steve Johnson," Mr Beetson said.
"The fact that all the players are coming together in Ipswich as one would have been the icing on the cake for him. Ipswich was a place that Dad showed a lot of passion for. Any time the indigenous community comes together he would have seen as a great achievement."
The fact that all the players are coming together in Ipswich as one would have been the icing on the cake for him.
The match was created to bring communities together and highlight the great contribution indigenous people have made to rugby league.
Indigenous All Stars hooker Travis Waddell, the only uncontracted player in the two squads, said playing for the Arthur Beetson Trophy had special meaning.
"This game is for Arthur Beetson and all indigenous people," he said.
"A great way to pay him back would be to win the game."
The Indigenous All Stars attended a civic reception in Ipswich last night after visiting the SES centre to say thank you for the way they dealt with the recent flood crisis.
Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was "great to see the people of Ipswich coming to support the players".
"They don't have to go to Brisbane to see them. This is the best of the best in Australia here."