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Team effort key to Titans' prolific Pacific Championships representation

Karyn Murphy will be an extremely proud coach when she sits back to watch week one of the Pacific Championships.

Overjoyed to have 14 players called up for representative duties following the club featured in in its maiden grand final, the 15-year Jillaroos veteran will now enjoy having 10 of her squad named to play for either Australia, New Zealand, Samoa or Fiji in this weekend's fixtures.

But the NRLW coach has been reluctant to take the credit in helping more than half her roster earn the call-up for their home nation, instead attributing the honours to the entire Titans team for their collective effort in 2023.

"The huge number of selections show it’s been such a team effort this year and we haven't relied on any individual performances," Murphy said.

"It's important for us at a club level to allow our players to play their best footy week-in, week-out so they can be in the frame for representative honours, so I'm extremely happy to see the number of players who have been selected.

"The end goal is to represent your country and for us as a club, the girls took a lot of faith to come here and play in a team that got the wooden spoon last year.

"To see six of them get Jillaroos representation, our captain earn selection for New Zealand and have players who will represent other nations such as Samoa, Cook Islands and Fiji, I'm extremely proud to have plenty of our girls who will continue to play footy at the backend of this year."

Six Titans will make their International debut; including Niall Williams-Guthrie, who will lead Samoa that also features teen talents Destiny Mino-Sinapati, Sienna Lofipo and Malaela Sua - up against fellow Gold Coast rookie Sienna Laing who will proudly represent Fiji.

This weekend will also be an extremely special occasion for prop Jess Elliston, who is relishing a green and gold call-up after a career-best NRLW season as a middle forward.

"I’m really happy for Jess," Murphy said.

"She’s played for Queensland and been close to getting that debut for the Jillaroos, so to be able to tell her that she will be playing for Australia along with the other girls is extremely special.

"I’m just so proud and she thoroughly deserves her call-up."

Skipper Georgia Hale will also make history after co-captaincy was bestowed on the 28-year-old. Her focus with the Kiwi Ferns this week has been on fostering the culture of the group, hoping to avenge last year's World Cup final defeat against the Jillaroos.

“The most important thing for me to do on this tour is grow the connection of our team, so we can bring our culture to life, which is what we pride ourselves on. It’s our superpower, our inner strength," Hale said. 

Pacific Championships Week 1

Australia v New Zealand - 5pm Saturday

Australia: Jaime Chapman, Shannon Mato, Jess Elliston, Shaylee Bent
New Zealand: Georgia Hale

Samoa v Fiji - 12.40pm Sunday

Samoa: Destiny Mino-Sinapati, Niall Williams-Guthrie, Sienna Lofipo, Malaela Sua
Fiji: Sienna Laing

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.