Willie Mason is the latest to back the future of the NRL All-Stars clash and said any players who pull out of the match for fear of getting injured may as well go and play touch football.
The future of the All-Stars concept has come under intense scrutiny of late with a host of big-name players pulling out of the match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The likes of Billy Slater, Anthony Watmough and Cooper Cronk have already withdrawn from the match due to injury while Matt Bowen and Sam Thaiday decided to bypass the game to get ready for the NRL season.
While the concept has been a huge success in promoting rugby league and good health to Indigenous communities, it's viewed by many clubs and coaches as an unwanted distraction and injury risk to their star players.
But Mason denied the season-opening fixture was in jeopardy and said the players were well aware of the risks and want to be involved in the match.
"Everyone signs up to play the game and we don't care if we get injured," the Newcastle prop told reporters on Monday.
"You can understand the fans and the (club) coaches would be a little bit sceptical but Wayne's (Bennett) my coach and he picked me in the team.
"If you're going to live your life like that or going to coach like that you shouldn't be playing the game.
"If you're going to worry about getting injured, don't play the game.
"These games should be played; if you're fit enough to play the game you should be playing, if not go and play touch footy."
There was nothing that was going to keep Mason from playing in his first representative clash since he turned out for Country Origin in 2010.
The 32-year-old, who spent 2011 playing rugby union in France after his English Super League deal with Hull fell through due to Visa issues, made a strong return to the NRL with the Knights last year.
Asked if he ever believed he could get back to representative football when he headed abroad a couple of years ago, Mason said: "To be honest I went over there to get away from all this.
"I had a great 18 months and I don't regret it. This time last year I just got back from France and I was very relaxed. I probably wasn't worried about footy all that much.
"But once I got back into it I knew all these jerseys would come back if I played my best.
"I heard this week is one of the best of the year and I'm glad to be a part of it. There's no pressure."
After the Indigenous All-Stars took out the inaugural clash, the NRL side has won the last two years and will again start favourites with a side that includes the likes of Benji Marshall, Jarryd Hayne, Cameron Smith and Paul Gallen.
But Mason scoffed at suggestions the Indigenous side would be easy-beats due to having less talent at their disposal.
"It's absolute garbage. Justin Hodges, GI (Inglis), Johnathan Thurston, Scott Prince ... they're some of the best players to have played the game," the former Test and Origin forward said.
"Their forward pack lacks a little bit of experience but that's about it.
"Their backline is super hot and they can match it with any team in the world. Our backs have got their work cut out.
"Our forwards are pretty experienced so I think we'll handle our job but I'd hate to be in the backline marking GI or Benny Barba."