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Emerging Origin gun Kira aims to 'get better and better'

Mason Kira, put simply, loves rugby league.

Kira, whose family hail from New Zealand, grew up playing at the Sunshine Coast and developed his love for the game at Maroochydore Swans, Redcliffe Dolphins and Sunshine Coast Falcons.

Kira, part of Queensland Rugby League’s Emerging Origin squad this year, played Cyril Connell at Redcliffe before playing two Mal Meninga seasons, coupled with Hostplus Cup, at the Sunshine Coast.

Now, Kira has moved north to be part of the North Queensland Cowboys system – which will see him play for Northern Pride - and he is acting like a sponge to become the best person and player he can possibly be.

“Big move,” Kira, who plays lock, prop and a bit of second row, said.

“There’s lots of travelling. My mum and my dad, and my sister, followed me, which is so good.”

Kira said pre-season had been “hard… it’s always hard, never easy”, but good, especially during his eight weeks at the Cowboys where he tackled Castle Hill a few times – which “was not fun” - and learned heaps from Reece Robson and Jake Granville.

“He would help me out with my defensive patterns and with certain moves, as well as Jake Granville... when I was playing in the middle, he helped me out,” Kira said.

Kira’s first foray into representative rugby league was as part of the Queensland Under 17 Country side in 2022 and was 18th man for the Queensland Under 19 side last year.

Country second rower Mason Kira: 'I reckon we can get the job done'

“When I didn’t make it last year… I was 18th man… it was really good just being around and seeing how everything happened,” Kira said.

“I hope to make it this year and see how I go… Matty Ballin helped me out and told me about what I should be improving on.

“The main advice was to stop trying to ball play as much and just run.”

Kira – a self-confessed “pain in the arse with good manners” - said wearing maroon, whether for the Queensland Under 19 side this year or for the Queensland Maroons in the future, was the ultimate goal.

“It would mean a lot because my pop was really into the Maroons side,” Kira said.

“I would definitely put it out to him for sure.”

Kira said when he thought of the Maroons, it was Greg Inglis who came to mind immediately.

“Everyone probably says the same thing but GI… just watching all his clips, he was mean as, especially playing State of Origin. He was a freak. A really passionate guy when it comes to the Maroons and when I was part of that 19s squad, when we saw him, he was really passionate about this stuff. It was really good," Kira said.

Mason Kira playing for the Falcons. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL
Mason Kira playing for the Falcons. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL

“I’m very grateful to be part of these squads… loving coming into these camps, meeting the boys, meeting the coaches… having the privilege to be here, because there’s plenty who want to be here but I am here, so I love having that privilege.”

When it comes to 2024 and what that looks like for Kira, he said he hoped to start the year playing Mal Meninga Cup, play Cup and make the Queensland Under 19 side.

“Just get better and better,” Kira said, with the view of achieving greater things again in 2025.

“I want to play NRL.”

QRL pathways and performance head coach Nathan Cross said Kira “showed maturity beyond his years with the way he conducted himself as 18th man last year, knowing that he probably wouldn’t get to play”.

“He showed a number of leadership qualities last year that didn’t go unnoticed by our staff,” Cross said.

“He’s a tough uncompromising forward who can float between the middle and edge back row and I know the Cowboys have high hopes for him.”

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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