NRL: Second-half hat-trick from Brisbane flyer Selwyn Cobbo steers Indigenous men to victory over Māori All Stars

Brisbane flyer Selwyn Cobbo has shrugged off a shaky start to guide the Indigenous men home 28-24 over Māori All Stars at Rororua.

After grassing a couple of early chances with the line beckoning, the winger rattled on three straight second-half tries to take the contest away from the home side, who were seeking their fourth straight win in the NRL pre-season fixture.

The Māori led 18-16 and were hot on attack, when Cobbo turned the match, gathering a speculative kick from centre Jesse Arthars and sprinting the length of the field to score his first try.

Latrell Mitchell spills the ball in the NRL All Stars Game
Latrell Mitchell spills the ball in the NRL All Stars Game. Photo credit: Photosport

Moments later, he chased Cody Walker's kick behind the advancing defensive line for a simple touchdown, then accepted a deft touchpass from centre Jack Wighton to dive over in the corner and put the game beyond reach for the NZ side.

The Māori responded with a try from Preston Riki that brought them back with reach, but time was against them and they could not mount another attack to steal the glory.

While most of the focus in the build-up centred on big names withdrawing from the exhibition game, one of the lesser-knowns - Māori five-eighth Zach Dockar-Clay - opened the scoring, when he stabbed a kick that bounced back off the uprights and into his arms for the try.

Indigenous winger Tyrell Sloan replied, but Latrell Mitchell's missed conversion threatened to be the difference in a closely fought affair. Arthars had a try, also converted by Jordan Rapana, and Sharks star Nico Hynes added a converted try that had the Indigenous only 12-10 behind at halftime.

Indigenous grabbed their first lead in slightly dubious circumstances, when Dane Laurie kicked ahead, Hynes gathered and provided the final pass for Brent Naden to score. Replays suggested Hynes was ahead of Laurie's kick, but wasn't called back.

Jordan Riki put the Māori back in charge, when he was tackled metres from the tryline, but not held, and scored at his second attempt, before Cobbo emerged as the late hero.

"A bit disappointing, but we gave it our best, with the young fellas that had to fill in at the last minute," reflected Māori captain James Fisher-Harris. "It was a great week in Rotorua - it's been so good to connect with our land and our people, and play in front of our whanau.

"It's always physical playing against these fellas - it's one of the most intense games, to be honest. They got me a few times."

Indigenous 28 (Sloan, Cobbo 3, Naden & Hynes tries; Hynes 2 conversions) Māori 24 (Dockar-Clay, J Riki, P Riki & Arthars tries; Rapana 4 conversions)