Indigenous stars meet Abdo on World Cup

Josh Addo-Carr is keen to see an Indigenous All Stars team play at the World Cup.
Josh Addo-Carr is keen to see an Indigenous All Stars team play at the World Cup.

Josh Addo-Carr wants to push ahead with plans to send an Indigenous side to Rugby League's World Cup as the tournament's future hangs in the balance.

Another meeting on the tournament's future is set to be held on Wednesday night in England, where it's expected government officials will push ahead for it to be played.

It's thought an official call on whether it goes ahead this year could again be pushed back to next week, in a bid to properly canvas player opinion on its viability.

Addo-Carr has helped lead the charge for Indigenous and Maori sides to replace Australia and New Zealand in the end-of-season tournament, provided it goes ahead.

The Melbourne flyer met with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo this week to discuss the matter and is waiting for a response from league officials about the option.

It comes after the ARL Commission and NZRL deemed the tournament too much of safety and welfare risk during COVID-19 last week.

But Addo-Carr, Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell are among those wanting to push ahead with the Indigenous team.

"We had a meeting with Andrew Abdo a couple of days ago and discussed potentially putting the Indigenous All Stars and Maori All Stars in the World Cup," Addo-Carr said.

"I'm just waiting to hear back from Andrew and the NRL to get that approved.

"I know all of us boys are keen take part and do whatever it takes to be a part of the World Cup, especially for the Indigenous All Stars."

It's understood that the World Cup and virus conditions have been discussed among NRL club CEOs as part of regular meetings at the Queensland hub

Ordinarily, clubs have a responsibility in their contracts and licence agreements with the NRL to make all players available for representative selection.

However given both the ARL Commission and NZRL have pulled their teams from the tournament, that obligation will not remain with the clubs this year.

In turn, it means clubs will have the power to not release their stars given the rate of COVID-19 infections in England.

That could still create some issues if the tournament goes ahead, given the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Tom Burgess have been vocal in their desire to play for Tonga and England.

Some NRL coaches remain in favour of the tournament being played, including Wayne Bennett.

But the likes of Ivan Cleary and Michael Maguire have both indicated they would not be comfortable having their players go, after the call not to send Australian and New Zealand teams.

Under normal circumstances, NRL players would be expected to make up for around half of the players in the tournament.

Australian Associated Press