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'Culture would be hectic': New Zealand All Stars idea a winner according to Herbert

Patrick Herbert can just imagine how incredible the atmosphere would be should the All Stars be played in New Zealand next year.

With the prospect of the game being played across the ditch in 2023 according to NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo, the Titans centre believes the euphoria when the Māoris run out at somewhere like Mount Smart Stadium or Eden Park would be incredible.

"That’ll be one of the best things ever. All the Māoris back there and everyone in general… just to have footy back there. I think it’ll be good. The culture will be hectic," Herbert said.

"Even just having the games here (in Australia) that I’ve been apart of. The Indigenous team and the fans and that. They just love it and it’s so loud when they do any little thing, so to have a crowd like that cheering for us would be amazing.

In a near man of the match performance in Saturday's clash, the 25-year-old bounced back from his heartbreaking finish to the 2021 season in style, aiming up with plenty of gritty defence - including a heroic try-saving tackle - and playing a hand in one of Māoris' tries in the 16-10 win over the Indigenous All Stars.

"It was real good. Obviously to get the win made it a bit more special," Herbert said.

"The week in general was hectic. It was a good refresher and good to reconnect with our roots and our culture with a team of boys who are in a similar boat who can’t go home.

"We were able to get together and showcase our culture and how proud we are as Māoris.

"I think when you’re playing for your culture, it’s an unexplainable feeling.

"You find another level and just go into autopilot where you want to do whatever it takes to make your family and heritage proud."

Herbert was front and centre of New Zealand's pre-match ceremony, passionately leading arguably one of the best displays of culture ever seen on a rugby league field.

"I think the haka is where you get ready for war – the game being the metaphoric war that you talk about and setting the challenge," Herbert said.

"The emotions start boiling… you think about your family and everything that your culture means to you. It all comes out as pure emotion.

"Two passionate cultures going head-to-head and we’re all teammates, but the passion just takes over."

One of six Titans in action in the first match of the new season, Herbert feels he and his teammates have really benefited from a positive pre-season at Parkwood, and are fit and firing in the best possible shape for 2022 after really strong performances at the weekend.

"Pre-season is always tough. Even if you’re fit, they make it harder," Herbert said.

"I think all the boys from the Titans did the club proud and Dave (Fifita) doing what Dave does... he threw me off a tackle once and scored.

"I think our pre-season has set a good platform for us and our club."

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Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.