Rugby League: Indigenous All Stars pair Latrell Mitchell, Jack Wighton refusing to let arrest overshadow 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'

The Māori and Indigenous sides have been welcomed to Rotorua, before the first-ever NRL All Stars game on New Zealand soil.

But the Australian side's arrival has been overshadowed by the arrest of Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton last weekend, while the Māori team have had to scramble for replacements, with several frontline players pulling out. 

"Just very emotional, very passionate and a lot of things going through my head, and definitely connected to what just happened," said Mitchell.

Superstar Mitchell met locals and had a taste of Māori custom, but across the Tasman, he's been in the headlines for the wrong reasons, after he and teammate Jack Wighton were arrested for an incident at a Canberra nightclub.

"I can't talk too much about it, but we're both happy to be here and can't wait to play, and we just want to focus on the week," Mitchell said.

"It's something I'll have to live with now, but it's done and, as you said, it's before the courts," Wighton said. "We'll get to that stage and see where we go." 

The pair don't want to let the incident get in the way of the week, with the All Stars clash making its New Zealand debut.

Latrell Mitchell in action for the Kangaroos
Latrell Mitchell in action for the Kangaroos. Photo credit: Getty Images

"This whole experience could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it's something I wasn't going to miss, so I'm very grateful to be here," Wighton said.

The Māori side have had their own headaches, with a host of players, including Kiwis stars Joey Manu and Nelson Asofa-Solomona pulling out with injury.

Coach Ben Gardiner is calling on the younger players to step up.

"Sometimes, when someone misses out, it's someone else's gold and I had that conversation with a number of players," he said.

Join us at 5:30pm Saturday for live updates of the NRL Indigenous v Māori All-Stars game