Pride runs through the bloodlines of Roosters centre Joseph Manu.
It is a pride in culture, family, and Maori heritage that is built into his DNA and passed down through a family that hails from the picturesque Northlands of New Zealand.
It is a pride that will fuel him when he takes to the field with some of the brightest names in the NRL in the 2021 All-Stars clash on February 20.
“They are a proud people up north,” Manu said.
“My grandmother is from the Nga Puhi tribe from the Waikare and Rawhiti region of north New Zealand, so I am really proud to represent her and the family there.”
“I’ve spoken to my mum and she was the happiest, she’s always wanted me to play in this game. So I know they will be all watching me.”
I will be doing my best for them and my culture.Joseph Manu Maori All Star
Joey’s inclusion at centre in the star-studded Maori team is a welcome sight for rugby league fans, with his exciting skill-set suitable to the free-flowing brand of football.
Although a regular inclusion in the New Zealand Kiwi’s International squad, this will be the first time Joey has played in the popular All-Stars fixture, being unavailable for selection in previous years due to World Club Challenge commitments.
“I’m just excited, it will be my first time putting on this jersey,” Joey said.
“The game looks exciting. Both teams are playing for their heritage so it's a great format,”
“Everyone who puts on a jersey, whether it's the Indigenous or Maori jersey really likes to represent so I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
“It’s obvious that fans really enjoy it too, so I’m looking forward to the occasion and the atmosphere.”
A 25,000 capacity crowd is expected at the Harvey Norman All Stars pre-season fixture, which will be the first major rugby league event at the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
You can secure tickets here.