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Bearer of many flags: Titans flyer pumped for Multicultural Round

A month on from having the opportunity to represent his Indigenous heritage at the NRL All Stars, Alofiana Khan-Pereira is excited to fly the flag for the other cultures he possesses links to this weekend.  

A proud Bundjalang man, in addition to his Indigenous roots on his mum's side the Titans winger also has Pakistani heritage, while his father is of Samoan and Māori lineage. 

But despite having options aplenty when it comes to international eligibility, the Lismore-born flyer said he's very much an Australian first and foremost and it's his family's dream to see him in a green and gold jersey one day. 

“I am representing a lot of countries... but the one that hits hard, hits most I think, is playing for Australia," Khan-Pereira said ahead of Saturday's Multicultural Round clash against the Bulldogs. 

We are in Australia and I'm playing Australian footy, so Mum and Dad really want to push me to play for Australia first.

Alofiana Khan-Pereira

“If I can play for Samoa or for the Māori team maybe in the long run [I would want to] but now, my focus is Australia.”

The 22-year-old took a step towards that goal by earning selection in the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII last year, at the end of a remarkable rookie NRL season which saw him score 20 tries and smash the club record for tries in a single season. 

Just like his fleet-footed teammate, new Titans recruit Keenan Palasia will also be representing multiple cultures this week, having played for Samoa in last year's Pacific Championships before lining up for the Māori All Stars this year. 

Keenan Palasia playing for the Māori All Stars.
Keenan Palasia playing for the Māori All Stars. ©NRL Images

“I got to represent both of my cultures [in the space of a few months], which is what I was aiming for,” Palasia said.

“I got to do my dad's side of the family and do them proud and also my mum's side.”

With the Titans' footprint reaching from Lismore to Logan – which is considered one of the most culturally diverse regions in the country – the club have embraced the multicultural mix of their NRL and NRLW playing squads.

That has included coach Des Hasler commissioning a 6.8m x 4.1m mural in the Titans high performance centre which features the word 'welcome' written in 24 different languages.

The Welcome Wall at the Gold Coast Titans.
The Welcome Wall at the Gold Coast Titans. ©Gold Coast Titans

“That was one of the first things I noticed when I came in for my first gym session,” Palasia said.

“It's cool to be able to be at a club that's proud of everyone's cultures. That's how the game should be.

“We're an inclusive game and that's exactly what this club stands for.”

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.