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Kini ready to rise in Magic Round arena again

All too familiar with what Magic Round is all about, Keano Kini is grateful for the opportunity to be back playing NRL, a year on from his first game at the festival of rugby league.

Following a dominant performance at fullback on Sunday that saw the Titans get their first win at home for the season in gritty circumstances - having lost both halves and two outside backs to injury - the teenage sensation is ready to rise again against the Knights in his second Magic Round clash.

"The boys were stoked to get the win,” Kini said.

"It was gutsy and we made it pretty hectic at the end, but the boys are happy.”

Despite scoreboard success, the injuries that left the Titans without a fit player on the bench by full-time means the young No. 1 has an important role to play in the upcoming weeks.

"It was pretty scary," Kini said.

"We’re coming in with this ‘next man up mentality’, and the boys that came into different positions did well, it was a pretty tough effort from them.

"Obviously, we’ve got all those injuries, but I am just trying to learn every week and add what I add and try and bring energy to the team."

Returning to the Cauldron on the eve of his first debut anniversary in Magic Round last year, Kini is set to run out for his 10th NRL game this weekend against the Knights.

"It’s always cool to be playing at Suncorp,” he said.

"It’s been pretty quick [12 months since debuting]... obviously exciting, a few ups and downs but I'm just trying to keep learning and do what I do."

Guided by the experience of teammates Kieran Foran and AJ Brimson, the 20-year-old knows their on-field leadership in the 2024 season so far have prepared him for the games ahead.

"Foz been talking to everyone and been keeping everyone accountable. He's also trying to be a bit tougher this year on the boys which is what we need," Kini said.

"He’s been pretty tough on me and the spine about talking and getting a voice, which has really been a big help.

"Brimmo at the back as well, being the same position as me, has been talking to me about what I need to do.

"I am just trying to work with the coaches and work on myself, I’ve still got so much to learn and improve on, but I am just trying to do me."

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.