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Sport: Sydney to host first marquee match of 2022

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After missing out on hosting the NRL grand final for the first time in history in 2021, Sydney has clawed back a maquee game by grabbing the showpiece All Stars clash to kick off season 2022.

The All Stars match has historically been played in Queensland, with Melbourne and Newcastle also getting the opportunity to host the event.

The February 12 match up between the Indigenous All Stars and the Maori All Stars will be played at Parramatta's CommBank Stadium, with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo saying it would benefit the city "enormously".

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Joel Thompson standing in front of a crowd: Latrell Mitchell performing an Indigenous dance ahead of last year's NRL All Stars match. © Getty Latrell Mitchell performing an Indigenous dance ahead of last year's NRL All Stars match.

"All Stars week is a unique and important part of our rugby league calendar. To be able to celebrate this week in Sydney is an exciting opportunity for players and fans," Abdo said.

"The event brings communities and cultures together and helps celebrate First Nations people as well as rugby league's authentic and powerful diversity."

The February event will feature the women's and men's Indigenous and Maori teams, along with the Indigenous and Maori touch football teams.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the fixture would give sports fans an exciting event to look forward to.

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"The NRL All Stars pre-season showcase is a wonderful celebration of rugby league and indigenous and Maori culture," Mr Ayres said.

"As an avid NRL fan I am delighted that Sydney will kick-off the 2022 rugby league season with the NRL All Stars fixture and welcome fans from around the country to CommBank Stadium.

"Sydney and NSW continues to secure significant sporting events that resonate with the community by providing entertainment and inspiration, while also playing a vital role in driving our visitor economy."

Latrell Mitchell tussles with the Maori defence in the All Stars game. © Getty Latrell Mitchell tussles with the Maori defence in the All Stars game.

While it's an important boost for the local economy, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys and Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council Chair Katrina Fanning emphasised the fixture's importance to the rugby league calendar.

"You can't imagine our game without the influence of Indigenous and Maori cultures and the leadership role our players have in the community," Abdo said.

"All 10 All Stars contests have educated, improved awareness and overall built bridges between communities," added Fanning.

"It has had an incredibly important impact in regional communities but it has also shown its power in our cities including Brisbane and Melbourne. Now Sydney has the chance to experience the life-changing abilities of the All Stars concept."

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