The 2017 All Stars match is set to be played two weeks after the NRL Nines and may be moved to Townsville or another city but they are likely to be the only real changes to a concept that received the overwhelming backing of players on both sides in Saturday night's clash, 38,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium and 500,000 television viewers in Sydney and Brisbane.
World All Stars upset Indigenous All Stars
The World All Stars have upset the Indigenous All Stars for the first time since 2012 with a bruising 12-8 victory at Suncorp Stadium that also saw no serious injuries sustained by any player.
If the intention of NRL head of football Todd Greenberg in announcing the future of the All Stars would be reviewed was to encourage people to fight for its survival, it proved to be a master stroke as players and fans left no doubt about their support for the game.
English prop James Graham spoke out about the importance of the concept after receiving the Preston Campbell Medal as man of the match, as did Australian captain Cameron Smith before hoisting aloft the All Stars trophy as skipper of the victorious World team, while Indigenous captain Greg Inglis questioned why any doubts were allowed to be cast over the viability of the match in the first place.
To be fair to Greenberg, he never suggested that the match would be scrapped, just that he needed to discuss with the clubs where it best fits in the season schedule.
But with some clubs and coaches viewing the All Stars match as little more than an unwanted disruption to their preparations for the coming season, Greenberg's comments to reporters in Auckland after another successful Nines tournament prompted fears that the annual clash was about to get squeezed from the calendar, as it did in 2014 when the Nines was introduced.
There was even a suggestion that the NRL introduce a two-week break between the preliminary finals and the grand final, as in the NFL before Super Bowl, with the All Stars match to be played on the spare weekend.
However, that would be considered a radical change to the NRL schedule and there is a risk that even fewer stars would be available. What makes more sense is to move the Nines and All Stars match further apart to allow players to take part in both without feeling like they are the NRL's equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters, as Sam Thaiday surely must after flying from the Nines in Auckland to join the Indigenous All Stars camp in Brisbane and then travelling from Suncorp Stadium at full-time to catch a flight to London for the Broncos' World Club Series match against Wigan.
If the All Stars match was on next weekend, Thaiday would have had to choose between representing his race against a World team or representing his club in the World Club Series, but there would have been a greater chance of the 15 players who were initially asked to play the Nines and All Stars doing so.
The withdrawal of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Alex Johnston, who could not back up from the Nines, as well as Johnathan Thurston, Sam Burgess, Paul Gallen, Blake Ferguson, Trent Hodkinson and Robbie Farah hurt the credibility of the All Stars match but the players who did play and many others spoke out strongly in support of the concept.
With the Queensland government's two-year contract to host the match at Suncorp Stadium having ended, there is now an opportunity for the NRL to take the All Stars match elsewhere. Townsville has strong support, but would not be able to accommodate a crowd of 37,339 fans who watched the World All Stars secure a 12-8 win on Saturday night.
The 277,000 Sydney viewers and 218,000 in Brisbane who tuned into the match on Channel Nine, plus many more in regional areas, proves there will be strong interest wherever it is played so the important thing is to ensure the timing is right for the players.