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'I never thought I'd make it': Kiwi dreams come true for Clark

Nothing could wipe the smile off Erin Clark's face the moment he found out he was going to spend the next week back at home in New Zealand for the Representative Round.

Better still, he isn't just heading to his motherland for a holiday -  a place he hasn't been able to return to for over 12 months due to COVID - the Titans rake will join the Kiwis squad and represent his native Aotearoa in this Saturday's Pacific Test against Tonga.

"I'm pretty stoked, hey. I never thought I'd ever make that squad, especially having a couple years off," Clark said.

"For it to happen so soon, it's pretty surreal. 

"I haven't been home in a year because of COVID, so I can't wait to get home and just for that occasion... I'm pretty happy.

"I remember a couple years ago when they had the last Test there between New Zealand and Tonga. I wasn't playing back then, so to be a part of it in any way I can is pretty cool."

Clark and Herbert lead Maori haka

His selection by coach Michael Maguire to be part of the 25-man Kiwis squad is another string in the bow for the passionate Māori No. 9; who started the year with a dominant display in the All Stars clash, before knuckling down and being one of the Titans' inspirational leaders in defence, topping the club's tackle tally with 481 efforts over 15 appearances.

"I know times are tough here [at the Titans], but we still really enjoy coming to training and we've still got work to do, but it's pretty upbeat here and we're not far off," Clark said.

"My selection definitely brought a smile to me and my family's face and I just can't wait to get into training with them."

Although admitting he was initially shocked when his phone first rang to share the good news, the support from his Gold Coast teammates has been more than overwhelming for the 24-year-old, who has every chance to make his International debut in the clash.

"It's been really good. They've been so supportive, just more with congratulations and things like that," Clark said.

"I was pretty surprised about it... yeah, I was really surprised."

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.