Jacob Alick is expecting to get a little starstruck when he enters Indigenous All Stars camp this weekend.
Joining teammate Alofiana Khan-Pereira as the two men's Titans who will represent their heritage in Townsville next Friday, the 24-year-old admits it's been hard to contain his excitement after getting the call-up for his first All Stars campaign alongside some of the game's greatest players, including dynamo Latrell Mitchell.
"Absolutely I will be starstruck... I reckon it'll be like the first day I walked into here," Alick told titans.com.au.
"There's some big names in there... I'm most looking forward to playing with Trellmit to be honest. I've looked up to him growing up.
"My favourite player is Greg Inglis and I reckon he's been the closest to GI in a while, but there's other massive names in there too... Nicho Hynes, Cody Walker, Kotoni Staggs and Hammer (Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow).
"To be named in that group and to be around those boys will be awesome for me."
Taking the selection call from coach Ronald Griffiths only hours after watching a replay of Inglis leading the Indigenous war cry at the 2017 All Stars event, the Gold Coast forward is thrilled to be representing his Torres Strait Island background after previously honouring his Papua New Guinea heritage with seven appearances for the Kumuls since 2022.
"My grandmother was born in PNG but quickly migrated over to the Torres Strait Islands and my mum was born in Darnley Island or also known as Erub. Most of my family like uncles and aunties and distant relatives are all Torres Strait background," Alick explained.
"I’ve loved representing PNG, but haven’t been able to represent my Indigenous heritage yet, so it’ll be so cool to play alongside some of the stars there… even just to be in the camp will be unreal.
"I've already heard from people I haven't heard from for a long time, so it's been awesome to get phone calls and text messages congratulating me and sharing what it means.
"You feel how proud everyone is of you and it makes you more proud.
"I've honestly been waiting a long time to represent my heritage that way because I've been playing for PNG lately, so to see how proud mum is and that side of the family is... it's unreal."
Alick's selection comes as he prepares to earn a spot in Des Hasler's Round 1 team, hoping to play more regular first grade in 2024 after five games last season.
"The pre-season has been tough but I've really enjoyed Dessie's coaching style. It's been a lot different to anything I've ever had before and I've really taken to it and am enjoying myself," he said.
"I feel I'm training pretty well at the moment so I'm trying to put my best foot forward and hopefully get the chance to in that second trial and we'll then see what happens in Round 1."