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Flashing lights, booming music and a smoke machine formed the backdrop as the iSelect Titans were treated to a rock stars welcome during a visit to the Hibiscus Coast Raiders Junior Rugby League club.

As the build-up to this weekend’s anticipated Auckland Nines continued, the Titans were introduced on stage in front of hundreds of excited locals before being given a traditional welcome dance from the next generation.

Signing autographs for over an hour and taking part in junior rugby league clinics, the Titans could have been mistaken for the home side as the locals warmed to the Gold Coasters’ customary community spirit.

For new recruit Kalifa FaiFai Loa, the visit brought back memories of his junior days in New Zealand playing against the host club.

The flying winger will get his first taste of Nines football this weekend after being named to make his official debut for the Titans in the inaugural tournament.

As a token of the junior club’s appreciation for the visit, Titans Co-Captain Greg Bird was presented with a traditional Maori war club symbolising strength and unity.