The Group 16 All Stars have won the most lopsided All-Stars match in recent history, beating the Indigenous All Stars 62-12.
Fullback Kyle Shepherdson and centre Zac Cuzner both scored hat-tricks in the 11 tries to two demolition job.
The Group 16 All Stars got off to a fast start with two tries inside of the first five minutes.
Merimbula-Pambula halfback Blake Schafer scored the first try of the day underneath the posts, before a long ranged effort for Cuzner’s first.
The Indigenous All Stars hit back briefly through prop Declan Scott, who ran a courageous line near the posts to score a textbook forward’s try.
The Group 16 All Stars quickly took momentum back, scoring four more tries, including two to Shepherdson, to take a 32-6 lead into the half time break.
The second half began much like the first, as Bega’s James Duncan scored early to widen the margin.
The game became an arm wrestle for the next 10 minutes, as both sides started looking fatigued.
Shepherdson was the main to provide the spark the game needed, scoring a magnificent solo try to complete his hat-trick. The fullback broke six tackles on his way to the line, showing the full range of skills that make him one of the most exciting players in the competition.
The Indigenous All-Stars did score again through Dan Swain, but three more tries to the Group 16 All-Stars finished off the 50-point thrashing.
The start of the All-Stars match was delayed due to a scary incident in the women’s All-Stars match.
Group 16 All Stars player Lucie Elton suffered a suspected neck injury in the second half of the game after a hard tackle from Rhelisha Roberts.
Although Elton has since been cleared of any damage, the game was called to a halt with the Indigenous All Stars leading 26-10.
Group 16 Chairman Allan Wilton praised the efforts of the trainers in handling the situation.
“They’re very well trained,” he said. “We’ve got to have those trainers and first-aid people, or we can’t play.”
“They handled that very well; it’s always better to err on the side of caution.”
The day also saw the inaugural Dave Wilton Trophy awarded to the Narooma Devils after an 18-6 victory over the Bega Roosters in the final.
The Devils lost to the Roosters in the pool matches earlier in the day, but did enough to reverse the result when it mattered.
The Batemans Bay Tigers and Eden Tigers were the two beaten semi-finalists.
Allan Wilton said the day was “an outstanding success”.
“The new concept of having the 18s play nines went off excellently,” he said. “It was an area we hadn’t looked at before, but we’re going to try and work on that and develop it even better for next year.”
Wilton said the under 23s format of the All-Stars game allowed young players more opportunity to impress on a national stage.
“The under 23s is a decision made by the CRL, because it’s the way the next process is selected,” he said. “The country side an under 23s side, so it’s something that we’ve introduced.
“I support it 100 per cent.
“It’s hard on the older guys though, because a lot of those guys still want to play rep footy.”
The focus now shifts to season 2018, but that hasn’t stopped Wilton casting an eye forward to next year’s match.
“We try to keep it in communities that have a higher percentage of indigenous people in the community, and we try to share it between towns,” he said.
“It’s very hard to survive these days without being able to raise funds, and it’s a good day to do that.”