Jonathan Thurston will not take part in the highly anticipated All Stars match, it is understood.
The 2015 Golden Boot winner is reluctant to take part in the game, which will mark Sam Burgess’ return to Rugby League. It is believed the 32-year-old’s reasoning is that he already has a busy schedule in 2016 with the NRL season, State of Origin and the Four Nations all taking place.
It would be a big blow to the event itself, which sees an Indigenous All Stars team go up against a World All Stars team, which features Slammin’ Sam, James Graham and Gareth Widdop among others.
Thurston was the catalyst for the North Queensland Cowboys in their successful NRL campaign last year in which they won the Grand Final.
The Cowboys will face Leeds Rhinos in the World Club Challenge next month.