Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley is hoping to get a full 80 minutes out of new South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell on February 22 despite his late start to the NRL pre-season.
After an extended break, the former Roosters star joined the Rabbitohs for his first training session of the pre-season on January 14 on a mission to transform from a representative centre into a fulltime No.1.
With limited time to prepare, fitness will be the biggest hurdle for the 22-year-old against the Maori All Stars in his first outing as an NRL fullback in 2020.
"Fitness wise I'm hoping he'll be up to speed and hopefully he can play there for the 80 minutes, but I'd say that he won't be there for the whole 80 minutes," Daley told NRL.com while announcing a 20-man squad for the match on Tuesday.
"Depending on how he goes, we might have to spell him at some stage."
It could form the perfect opportunity for Rabbitohs rival and last year's Indigenous All Stars fullback Alex Johnston to show his ability with reports he is being shopped to rival clubs after Mitchell's arrival at Souths.
Johnston has been shifted from fullback to the wing at the Rabbitohs, but would be the ideal replacement for Mitchell should he be unable to last 80 minutes at Cbus Super Stadium next month.
Daley's other fullback options include Newcastle's Connor Watson, Jack Wighton and Blake Ferguson.
Mitchell and Johnson will join Rabbitohs teammates James Roberts and Cody Walker in Daley's squad, with fan voting taken into consideration for the final teams.
Gold Coast will also have four representatives in Ryan James, Tyrone Peachey, Tyrone Roberts and Nathan Peats, while the Sharks will be represented by three stars in Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham and Jesse Ramien.
Maori All Stars coach David Kidwell has also named his 20-man squad, headlined by five Melbourne players: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith.
Newcastle star Kalyn Ponga was also selected and is expected to play fullback opposite Mitchell.
The Roosters and Wests Tigers are the only two teams not to have a player selected for either squad, although the NRL premiers will be contesting the World Club Challenge in England on the same night.
Both coaches confirmed there are injury concerns for Fifita, Walker and Esan Marsters who will need to prove their fitness in order to play.
The Indigenous side are the reigning champions of the annual clash after a 34-14 victory in 2019.
A women's Indigenous v Maori match will be the curtain-raiser to the main game.
Indigenous All Stars: Josh Curran, Josh Addo-Carr, Adam Elliott, Blake Ferguson, Andrew Fifita, David Fifita, Wade Graham, Ryan James, Josh Kerr, Alex Johnston, Latrell Mitchell, Tyrone Peachey, Nathan Peats, Jesse Ramien, James Roberts, Tyrone Roberts, Joel Thompson, Cody Walker, Connor Watson, Jack Wighton.
Maori All Stars: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich, Corey Harawira-Naera, Jahrome Hughes, Issac Luke, Esan Marsters, Briton Nikora, Kodi Nikorima, Kalyn Ponga, Kevin Proctor, Bailey Simonsson, Brandon Smith, Brad Takairangi, James Tamou, Zane Tetevano, Dylan Walker, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Malakai Watene Zelezniak.
Australian Associated Press