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Toia soaking up unexpected Māori All Stars experience

A late call-up to this year’s Māori All Stars team, Creedence Toia has lost no time soaking up the experience of a dream coming true. 

After moving back to Queensland this preseason after a year spent with the Canterbury Bulldogs where he took part in the NSW Cup grand final; Toia has since been undergoing a train-and-trial with the Gold Coast Titans.

Toia, who is yet to feature in the NRL, is also signed by the Burleigh Bears where he will be coached by former Parramatta Eels star Luke Burt for the 2023 Hostplus Cup season.

This weekend however, he was hoping to play in this weekend’s Pre-Season Challenge match for the Titans against the Broncos, before getting a call to pack his bags and join the Māori team.

Creedence Toia at Gold Coast Titans training.
Creedence Toia at Gold Coast Titans training. ©Gold Coast Titans

“Yeah, it was really unexpected, my mate messaged me, Zach Dockar-Clay and told me that the coach was keen to bring me in and then he called me just shortly after and then he gave me the news, so it's pretty cool," Toia said upon his arrival in camp. 

“The coach was asking for backs and he just asked Zach and he said he thought I'd be alright.

“(I got the call) I think it was just two days before the camp … and then I had to pack my bags that day and then get ready to fly down to Sydney.

“I was supposed to play in the Broncos (Preseason Challenge) this coming week, but then obviously got called into this.”

For Toia, representing in this team is an achievement that has come early on in his footballing career and he was thrilled to be able to represent his family at the All Stars event at Rotorua.  

“My old man's from Huntly here and my mum is from Christchurch and I played in Māori rep teams back in Brisbane, so it's pretty cool to play in the big one,” Toia said.

“It's been a dream of mine to play in the big one, I didn't think I'd come this fast, so I'm here now, so I'm pretty keen, yeah. 

“It feels like this jersey is going to be different to put on. I feel like when I put it on, I'm going to be playing for my family that I have over here that I haven't even met before, so I feel like I'm playing for a lot of people, rather than myself this week.

“I can’t wait to do the haka on the weekend and learn a bit more about my background, I don't really get to come back to New Zealand very often, so (this week) it will be good to learn about myself and what this is.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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