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Mato excited for Māori All Stars experience

Shannon Mato is coming off one of the biggest seasons of her career to date.

The Titans NRLW Player of the Year featured in her sides NRLW Grand Final, played for Queensland in last year's Origin series and also starred for the Jillaroos in the end-of-year Pacific Championships.

The 25-year-old is ready to go again and is excited for football in February, named as part of the Māori All Stars side that will play the Indigenous All Stars in Townsville on Friday 16th February.

"I'm very fortunate to play a game before all of the other games and I guess that sort of gives me a head start for the hectic year to come," Mato said.

This game holds extra significance for the Titans prop, with the match also a chance to connect with her cultural heritage.

"I'm always excited to be given the opportunity to be able to represent my heritage," Mato said.

"It's definitely special to represent my last name.

"I live in Australia, but to be able to represent my heritage is huge.

"I feel connected and not living in the environment of learning my culture, it can be a bit hard and I feel a bit lost at times.

"It's not just about (learning) about my own culture but the Indigenous culture as well and that is special because I live in Australia."

The match will be Mato's fourth All Stars campaign with the Māoris after debuting in North Queensland in 2021.

She'll come up against three Titans team-mates, Jaime Chapman, Taliah Fuimaono and Shaylee Bent, who will represent the Indigenous All Stars.

Mato says she's excited for the challenge against some familiar faces, but knows her side will face a task in shutting down one Titan in particular - Jaime Chapman - who showed how much of a strike weapon she can be with a hat-trick in the 2023 NRLW Grand Final.

"You can't miss Chappo, she is always recognised everywhere and she is a big personality like me," Mato said.

"I'd rather play alongside her than against her."


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.