The Arthur Beetson Trophy, to be contested at next week’s third annual Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match, was unveiled today at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast and features the handprint and signature of the late Immortal.

Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars creator Preston Campbell launched the trophy dedicated to the memory of Arthur Beetson at a special presentation attended by Arthur’s eldest son, Brad Beetson, the Queensland Deputy Premier, The Hon. Andrew Fraser MP, and Titans’ All Stars representatives Greg Bird and Luke Bailey.

The Arthur Beetson Trophy will be awarded to the winning team in the annual Harvey Norman Rugby League All Star game, with both sides heading into camp this weekend in preparation for the match at Skilled Park on Saturday week, February 4.

"Artie's influence on all players was immense and this is a fitting way to honour his memory and what he represented to so many players, coaches and fans in the Rugby League community," said Campbell, the Learn Earn Legend! Indigenous All Stars Ambassador.

"The face of Artie Beetson brings back memories for so many and what better a way to celebrate and honour his legacy than with a trophy that represents a match that he was a big supporter of.

“We know Artie was a man who was extremely proud of his heritage and he was passionate about the game of Rugby League, which is what the All Stars concept is all about.”

Designed by Sydney-based sculptor Roger Apte, the existing All Stars Trophy has been revisited with the trophy’s front face now painted black with a star-shaped panel affixed to it; and the reverse face now displaying Arthur’s handprint and signature.

The front of the trophy also displays the words “Arthur Beetson Trophy” while still carrying the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars logo, the Learn Earn Legend! Indigenous All Stars and NRL All Stars logos.

Brad Beetson said his family was very proud that the All Stars Trophy had been renamed in honour of his father.

“This year’s All Stars match will be particularly special for us because of all the wonderful tributes being prepared for Dad,” said Brad Beetson.

“At the end of the day he loved nothing more than a great game of footy and I wish both sides all the best for a thrilling All Stars match next weekend.”

Queensland Deputy Premier the Hon. Andrew Fraser MP, said there was great pride in having the legacy of Arthur Beetson immortalised in the Rugby League All Stars trophy.

“The Rugby League All Stars match is a big event on Queensland’s sporting calendar – and to include the Arthur Beetson Trophy as an integral part of the match is a fitting way to remember him,” said Mr Fraser.

“Last year’s match drew a sell-out crowd of 26,000 – delivering a major boost to the Gold Coast tourism industry, supporting local businesses and communities.

“That is why the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, is proud to support events like this as part of our record $174 million in events over four years.”

Across All Stars week there will be a number of Arthur Beetson Tributes including pre-match entertainment by Indigenous singer and songwriter Kev Carmody, who will be joined by award winning artists Sara Storer and Shane Nicholson for the song "From Little Things Big Things Grow" while an on-field tribute to Arthur takes place.

In other tributes, a friend of Arthur’s, Brian Peacock, will perform a tribute song “Big Artie - the Greatest of Them All”, as part of the All Stars Festival celebrations at Miami on Friday, February 3. The single was written and recorded by Peacock and will be available for fans to download, with all proceeds going to the Arthur Beetson Scholarship Fund, established to assist those making the transition from school to work.

He will also be distributing postcards in honour of Arthur to game attendees in the Skilled Park precinct on game day.

As revealed earlier this month, both sides will also be playing in modified jerseys that include the Rugby League legend’s signature, along with the inscription: “We Play Tonight in Your Honour”. These jerseys will not be available for commercial sale.

Lining up for next week’s on-field battle, Titans’ Learn Earn Legend! Indigenous All Stars representative Greg Bird believes this game will be one of the best Rugby League fans have seen.

"We've got the best players in the game here next weekend and even though it will be the first match of the pre-season for almost all of us, it will be very physical and intense, along with carrying the passion of an Origin game,” said Bird.

“That is a recipe for a cracking game and, with the size of the forwards named in the NRL All Stars last week, it will be a bruising encounter. With the added incentive of playing for a trophy that represents much more to all players, not just the Indigenous All Stars side, there will also be a lot of pride on the line.”

Getting to the game

Those attending the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game at Skilled Park on February 4 are encouraged to catch public transport with additional buses scheduled for the match and Robina Station being only a short walk from the stadium. For more information on public transport to the match visit: www.translink.com.au/events

Tickets

Tickets for the 2012 Harvey Norman All Stars match are still available through Ticketek outlets, on 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au. New Zealand customers can call 0800 842 538 or +61 132 849.

Results

2010 – Indigenous All Stars 16 def NRL All Stars 12
2011 – NRL All Stars 28 def Indigenous All Stars 12.