The Indigenous All Stars triumphed over a valiant Māori All Stars side with a 28-24 victory in Saturday’s NRL Harvey Norman All Stars match in Rotorua, thanks to a hat-trick by Selwyn Cobbo.
In the final quarter of the game, Cobbo scored three tries in just 12 minutes, lifting his team to overcome the Māori, who led for the first 44 minutes and made a strong comeback in the final moments.
Halfback Nicho Hynes was a standout player for the Indigenous team, scoring a try and setting up another, earning him the Preston Campbell Medal for player of the match.
With the Māori leading 18-16 with 20 minutes to go, Cobbo stepped up to the plate, showcasing his athletic abilities with a try that put his team ahead. He then added two more tries in quick succession to secure the win.
The game was preceded by an enthusiastic Indigenous war cry and a stunning haka, which was met with cheers from the 17,644 fans in attendance. However, it was a drop by Cobbo in the opening moments that gifted the Māori their first try.
Despite missing a chance to score when he dropped the ball on an open line, Tyrell Sloan scored for the Indigenous team, and the sides traded converted tries through Jesse Arthars and Hynes to end the first half with the Māori leading 12-10.
Just before halftime, Josh Kerr was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on James Fisher-Harris, but the Indigenous team managed to score four minutes into the second half, with Hynes at the center of the play leading to a try by Brent Naden.
Jordan Riki scored for the Māori, but Cobbo took over the game with his hat-trick. A late try by Preston Riki narrowed the gap to four, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome.