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Fifita named in Indigenous All Stars team

AAP logoAAP 13/12/2016 Steve Zemek

Mal Meninga has hinted he would have left Andrew Fifita out of the Indigenous All Stars side as the controversial Cronulla prop contends with the possibility of an NRL ban.

Fifitia was on Wednesday named in coach Laurie Daley's 20-man squad for the February 10 clash against Meninga's World All Stars, a day after receiving a breach notice from the NRL.

The 27-year-old was asked to show cause over his relationship with convicted one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge.

Fifita could be rubbed out for the start of the 2017 season but is reportedly likely to cop a $20,000 fine after writing "FKL" - a message of support for childhood friend Loveridge, who is serving a 10-year jail sentence for the killing of Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross in 2012.

Australian coach Meninga refused to pick Fifita for the recent Four Nations tour because of the integrity unit's investigations and because he was not considered a fit and proper character.

While Meninga said he had no problem with Fifita lining up for the exhibition game in Newcastle, he said the character of the player should be considered.

"I would suggest to you that is a good point - the character of the person on and off the field really matters when you select representative footy sides," Meninga said.

Daley said Fifita's involvement in the game was dependent upon him not being banned.

"The selection criteria was he was available so the fans have picked him so he's been included," Daley said.

"I've coached him before and certainly had no issues with him. He's always proud and he loves playing in this game.

"It will depend on what the breach notice says and whether it's a fine or whether he's looking at missing games. He has been selected subject to him being cleared."

Fifita has played in the 2012, 2013 and 2016 All Stars games.

Despite a blockbusting 2016 season during the Sharks' premiership campaign, he was not considered for the Australian squad and was snubbed for the Clive Churchill Medal, despite a match-winning display in the Sharks' grand final win.

However Daley had no concerns about selecting him for the All Stars game.

"Andrew Fifita had a terrific year last year," Daley said.

"I'd say he'd be looking to put it all (the Loveridge saga) behind him over the next three or four days."

Fifita will line up in a strong indigenous side which will feature Kangaroos representatives Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Sam Thaiday and Blake Ferguson.

The World All Stars have included Jarryd Hayne at fullback however Queensland and Australian captain Cameron Smith was not picked because of his packed schedule during the next 12 months which will include the World Cup.

Sydney Roosters rake Jake Friend will slot in at No.9 in Smith's absence while Mitchell Moses and Adam Reynolds will line up in the halves.

Indigenous All Stars: Jack Wighton, Blake Ferguson, Greg Inglis, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Johnathan Thurston, Ash Taylor, Ryan James, Nathan Peats, Andrew Fifita, Joel Thompson, Wade Graham, Sam Thaiday. Interchange: Tyrone Peachey, Jack Bird, Leilani Latu, Latrell Mitchell, Aidan Sezer, Kyle Turner, Adam Elliott.

World All Stars: Jarryd Hayne, David Mead, Joseph Leilua, Konrad Hurrell, Nene Macdonald, Mitchell Moses, Adam Reynolds, Nate Myles, Jake Friend, Jordan McLean, Gavin Cooper, Bryce Cartwright, Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Sosaia Feki, Sione Mata'utia, Sam Lisone, Moses Mbye, Tepai Moeroa, Jordan Turner.

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