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50 and counting: Clark proud of milestone, but wants to celebrate many more

Erin Clark has spoken at length about the challenges he's overcome to live his NRL dream.

Debuting in 2017 with the Warriors, the 25-year-old played only one game, before eventually falling out of love with rugby league and giving it away.

Becoming a labourer, his passion and and joy for the greatest game of all grew back - mainly thanks to his kids - inspiring a comeback, with the ball-playing lock moving to the Gold Coast on a train-and-trial deal at the backend of 2019.

Fast forward to Round 21, 2022 and after hours, days and months of hard work, Clark is set to run out for his 50th NRL game when the Titans take on Melbourne, an achievement he once thought he'd never reach.

"It means a lot [to play 50 NRL games]," Clark shared.

"A couple of years ago, I didn't even think I'd get to play another one, so to get 50 under the belt is pretty good, but my goal is to get more, especially here at the Titans and hopefully down the track, I can celebrate another milestone here at this club.

"When you have two kids, it motivates you to get off you backside and do something with your life.

"It took me a while to get there, but I dropped a bit of weight and the Titans showed a bit of faith in me to fulfil this childhood dream of mine, so I'm so grateful with the club to allow me to be here today."

It was only fitting his proud mum Temepara Bailey presented the passionate Kiwi forward with his milestone jersey at Thursday's captain's run, with the former Netball champion with her son every step of the way, especially this season with making the move to Queensland to help kickstart the club's Netball franchise as inaugural head coach.

"It got me really emotional [having my mum present my jersey]," Clark said.

"I'm really family orientated so when she was up there speaking and to have my kids and partner with me, it was pretty cool.

"I think having my mum and my kids here has definitely helped, but even more is the faith the coaching staff and the players has showed in me.

"When you are playing with confidence, that really helps your game.

"My first couple of years, I doubted myself which was was probably showing on the field.

"I still have a lot to learn and hopefully I can keep learning from this club and help put this club where it deserves to be."

Relishing in the mid-season shift to lock, Clark has had arguably his best three games of the season in the middle third role and has enjoyed his new role within the Titans team.

"It's really helped simplify my game," Clark said.

"I was caught having too many scenarios in my head during the game when I was playing hooker, but at lock, I can just run and make my tackles which I love doing."

The No. 13 has also had plenty of praise from Tino Fa'asuamaleaui with the skipper more than happy to relinquish his old jersey for the ball-player.

"He's been pretty supportive. I think the way the game is going now, I think the No. 8, 10 and 13 are doing the same thing," Clark said.

"I don't mind if I'm wearing the eight or even on the bench... I just love playing. 

"They're pretty similar all three positions and you can also put Tino anywhere and he'll try his best.

"That's the kind of leader he is. He backed me to take that jersey and I'm only a keeper for that jersey, it's not mine so I've just got to keep performing each week."

Erin Clark will run out for NRL game 50 against the Storm in Melbourne on Friday night.

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.