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World All Stars - Five Players to Watch

Here are five players worth following in the upcoming 2017 NRL Season.

Whilst the Indigenous All Stars may have dominated Friday’s Rugby League All Stars clash in Newcastle, the 80 minutes of action gave an insight into some of the exciting and influential players that will be worth keeping an eye on leading into this year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Paul Vaughan (Italy/Canberra Raiders)

Few players made more of an impact that Italian prop forward, Paul Vaughan, in Friday’s encounter. With limited game time, Vaughan made an impressive 140 metres from 13 runs to be the second most impactful forward in the game. It was no coincidence that the World All Stars were at their most dangerous than with the St George-Illawarra Dragon on the field, with his two offloads and one line break only adding to his impressive momentum.

David Mead (Papua New Guinea/Brisbane Broncos)

The new Brisbane Broncos signing, and current Kumul captain, showcased that he intends of making an impact in 2017 being heavily involved in all aspects of the game. As such, it was no surprise that Mead scored one of only two tries by the World All Stars in the game, and racked up 117 metres from his 12 runs, including two line breaks.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Fiji/Penrith Panthers)

Limited minutes on the field prevented the Penrith Panthers prop from sitting higher in the stats, however based upon his performance; Campbell-Gillard should have no problems adding to his one Test Cap for the Fiji Bati. 10 runs for 98 metres, and an impressive 20 tackles from a little more than a quarter of football showcased the workhorse attitude Reagan brings to the field, and the much welcomed defence he will add to the Bati’s forward pack.

Nene McDonald (Papua New Guinea/St George-Illawarra Dragons)

It was no surprise that the Papua New Guinean connection of Mead/McDonald would feature on the try scorer list for Friday’s match, with Nene following Mead’s lead and being heavily involved in the game. Racking up 106 metres from 11 runs, the new St George-Illawarra Dragons signing showed that not only is he a competent finisher in the three-quarter backline, but willing to get involved and help his team out of trouble. The combination of McDonald and Mead in the Kumuls' backline will give the Papua New Guinean’s such much welcome firepower in the backline after some less than impactful displays at the last two World Cups.

Andrew Fifita (Tonga/Cronulla Sharks)

Whilst Fifita made have turned up for the Indigenous side on Friday night, Andrew may still turn out in a jersey other than Green and Gold at this year’s World Cup. Having already racked up three Test Caps for the Mate Ma’a Tongan national team, Andrew is a real possibility of joining his brother David and running out in the Red of Tonga again if he isn’t selected for the Kangaroos for this year’s World Cup. With an impressive 176 metres from 18 runs, and three offloads to his name, Fifita topped the stats for all forwards in Friday’s game.

Written by Steve Birchall, RLWC2017 Contributor 

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