The opportunity to play for the people 'back home’ will be an added motivation for Morgan Harper in the Harvey Norman All Stars match.
It will be the first time the exciting Sea Eagles centre will represent the Maori All Stars at CommBank Stadium this Saturday.
Born and raised in Hamilton, New Zealand, Harper’s mum, Sonia, is from the Ngati Maniapoto tribe in the Waikato-Waitomo region in the North Island. It is part of the Tainui confederation.
His father, Paul, is from the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe, a descendant from Ngatoro-i-rangi, the priest who navigated the Awara canoe to New Zealand.
Joining Harper in the side will be Manly team-mate Dylan Walker, who lines up for his third game in the Maori All Stars team.
Harper has been named on the wing with Walker in the centres.
It will be Harper’s first senior representative jersey, ,a fine reward for a great 2021 season with Manly in which he scored 11 tries.
He previously represented the Junior Kiwis in 2018.
Harper said he was very ‘honoured’ to wear the Maori All Stars jersey in the first ever All Stars match in Sydney.
“It’s a special feeling to be able to pull on the jersey and represent all the people back home,’’ Harper said.
“Rugby league means so much to the Maori people, from children, teenagers, to adults alike. Everyone loves the game and this match is a massive thing for many of them.”
The All Stars match will be the first major rugby league event of the 2022 calendar.
Tickets are available from $25 for adults and $75 for families via nrl.com/tickets.
The All Stars matches will be broadcast live on the Nine Network, Fox League, SKY New Zealand and on NRL Live Pass.
Harvey Norman All Stars
Gates open: 4pm
Indigenous and Maori All Stars Touch Football match kick off: 4.05pm
Indigenous and Maori All Stars women’s match kick-off: 5:20pm
Indigenous and Maori All Stars men’s match kick-off: 8:10pm