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On the wing with some flair: Khan-Pereira ready for Round 1

After producing four-try performance in his side’s Pre-Season Challenge win against the Dolphins, Gold Coast Titans sensation Alofiana Khan-Pereira put his name up in lights and guaranteed his NRL debut for Round 1.

However, his inclusion on the wing for the clash against Wests Tigers has been some time in the making, despite his recent eye-catching displays which netted six tries in his two Pre-Season Challenge appearances.

Match Highlights: Dolphins v Titans

Last season, Khan-Pereira the leading try scorer in Queensland’s Hostplus Cup competition with 25 overall and he also took home the winger award in the competition’s team of the year, where opposition coaches voted on the players they deemed to have made the most impact in each position.

For 2023 Burleigh Bears head coach Luke Burt, who was an assistant with the Cup side last year and saw up close the damage Khan-Pereira could do, this week’s call-up is a fitting reward for the focus ‘Lofi’ has put into improving his game since setting the Cup competition alight last year.

“He’s just got raw speed and it’s something you just can’t coach and it’s a huge asset, and I think you saw that against the Dolphins; there were a couple of tries there where if you didn’t have Lof’s speed, he probably doesn’t get into the corner on two of those occasions, so he’ll be a huge asset for the Titans this year,” Burt said.

Excitement machine: 31 tries in 12 months

“(This pre-season) he definitely would have worked on his defensive reads and under fatigue as well, that was probably one of the things I am sure [Titans coach] Justin [Holbrook] would have seen a big improvement on this pre-season with his training, and just getting a bit more fit and getting that fitness under his belt so when that fatigue hits, he makes better decisions in defence.

“His development would have been through the roof hanging around the NRL squad and there’s a lot of improvement (yet) in Lof, he’s … a confident young fella, and he loves to have a bit of fun, but he’s also willing to learn.”

Speaking about the team he was going to name for the Round 1 clash, coach Justin Holbrook confirmed that Khan-Pereira would become Titans player #176 after seeing him display not only good rugby league skills on the field, but the right attitude all pre-season.

“Very happy and very pleased for him … he’s worked hard, he’s always had the speed, he’s always had that, but he’s learnt how to work really hard and he’s been terrific all pre-season,” Holbrook said.

“It’s great when people do the right thing and it’s good to reward them and he’s done exactly that.”

Alofiana Khan-Pereira in action for the Burleigh Bears during his award-winning 2022 Hostplus Cup season.
Alofiana Khan-Pereira in action for the Burleigh Bears during his award-winning 2022 Hostplus Cup season. ©Jason O'Brien / QRL

Originally a soccer junior who was signed up to play rugby league by his dad after watching a game on television, Khan-Pereira has been part of the set up at the Titans since he was 16 and cut a popular figure at the club’s season launch held last week.

While his debut was imminent, the noted try-scorer didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself, saying he still had work to do before he'd be named in the number two jersey.

“I had a chat with Justin, and he was very impressed with me (after the Dolphins game), but obviously there’s still a lot of things to touch up on, but I’m definitely pushing for that spot,” Khan-Pereira told assembled media at the launch.

The hard work Khan-Pereira has put in during the past few months have stood out to Burt, who was excited to see the young talent “do his thing” at the top level.

“There’s not too much advice from me (about how to handle his debut), because Lof is a confident young kid, he actually came to our trial match yesterday when we played Tweed, so he’s a level-headed young fella, that still came back to watch the Bears play,” Burt said.

“He just needs to go out and do his thing; what he did against the Dolphins in that trial was quite impressive and he just needs to take the confidence out of that and put it into the match this weekend.

“I can’t wait to watch him, I am very proud of the boy, I cannot wait.”

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.