Indigenous All Stars skipper Tallisha Harden has a simple recipe for success on big stage

“DESIRE, discipline and just a lot of grit.”

It is a simple recipe but one Indigenous All Stars captain Tallisha Harden will be key to making it back-to-back wins in the NRL All Stars.

Harden will lead the Indigenous side out of the tunnel for the second-straight year at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, an honour that has not been lost on the Brisbane Broncos NRLW champion.

She has a wealth of experience behind her despite injuries forcing the side to make a raft of changes from last year’s victorious outfit. NRLW regulars Quincy Dodd and Caitlan Johnson have stepped up their leadership in the group, while a host of young players are prepared to make their mark.

“It is a massive honour (to captain the side). I am really humbled by it,” Harden said. “I had a great mentor in Bec Young, she was in and around the side for a number of years. I was very lucky to learn off her.

All Stars captains at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Maori coach Keith Hanley with captain Corban McGregor and Indigenous captain Tallisha Harden and coach Ian Bourke. Picture: Evan MorganSource:News Corp Australia

“I take it with a lot of pride and responsibility, but it is also easy because the girls are a great young group of women.”

The Maori All Stars have experienced a similar level of upheaval in their playing ranks with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing several senior New Zealand-based players to pull out of the game.

Indigenous All Stars backrower Shaniah Power breaks through several would-be tacklers during lasyt years women’s All Stars clash at Cbus Super Stadium. AAP Image/Dave Hunt)Source:AAP

But it will not stop international centre Corban McGregor and experienced fullback Botille Vette-Welsh from leading a hungry young side aiming to create their own identity.

Maori All Stars coach Keith Hanley said it had been a tough week to be without their senior players but it would not stop the Maori side from steamrolling their way into the clash.

“In any contest there is a level of pressure, and (their loss) is something we are aware of. We are looking to move forward, and we have talked about building our own DNA as a group,” he said.

“It is a bit different without the people back home. We do miss them, and it has been different than normal, but we are looking to move forward.

“The connection we have (as a group) and the systems we have in our football, will be able to alleviate the loss a bit. It is something we have certainly felt as a whole group.”

Both teams trained on a slippery QCB Stadium surface yesterday and despite more rain predicted, Indigenous coach Ian Bourke said it did not change his side’s preparation or style as they aim to go back-to-back after last year’s 10-4 victory.

“I am pretty comfortable with where the girls are tracking. It was a bit dewy and a bit wet, but we learnt from that today. I don’t think it will have that much of a bearing. We need to have those effort areas in place, kick long, chase hard and back our own ability.”

Originally published asIndigenous leader’s secret recipe for success in All Stars

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