NEWCASTLE Knights skipper Kurt Gidley is confident the Aboriginal dream team will not have a mortgage on passion and commitment in next month's inaugural All Stars game.
Gidley is a certainty to be named today in the NRL All Stars squad for the historic exhibition match against the Indigenous All Stars at Skilled Park on February 13.
Representing their people and their culture is certain to provide the Indigenous players with a powerful source of motivation, but Gidley said yesterday that any player would be excited about being involved in such a showpiece fixture.
"It's the first time they've done this sort of thing, and it would be good to look back and say you were a part of it and to get a jumper out of it," Gidley said.
"Any time you play in a rep game of any sort it's always an honour, I guess, whether it's NSW, Australia or a game like this.
"It would be pretty exciting to get picked, because it's a new concept, and getting to play under Wayne Bennett would be a thrill."
Asked whether the NRL All Stars would be able to muster the same intensity as their Indigenous rivals, Gidley replied: "It's hard to say at the moment, but I'm sure Wayne Bennett will have a few ideas about how to get the best out of his players as a team for a one-off game.
"Anyone who gets picked in a team like that gets to that level because they're competitive at sports, let alone rugby league. I'm sure everyone in that team is going to want to play well and win."
Gidley nonetheless said players might be able to relax more than usual because they are not under as much pressure as when they represent their states or countries.
"Those games have got so much tradition and there is a lot of hype leading into those games," he said. "I think everyone will still be out to win this game and to prove a point, but I guess it might be a little bit more relaxed in the lead-up."
Gidley is expected to be the first player named today on Bennett's seven-man bench.
He is likely to receive plenty of game time interchanging with All Stars halves Darren Lockyer and Benji Marshall and fullback Billy Slater.
After only three weeks of pre-season training, Gidley admitted he was short of peak condition but felt all players involved in the All Stars game would be in the same situation.
"I'd say everyone will probably will be blowing a bit earlier than they normally do," he said.