Erin Clark was taking a nap when the call came through to tell him he'd be making his Māori All Stars debut but there's no way he'll be going to sleep on Titans team-mate David Fifita or any of the Indigenous side's other big guns at CommBank Stadium next Friday.
Fifita will pull on the Indigenous All Stars jersey for the fourth time on February 12 while Clark will add the Māori honour to the two Test match appearances he made for Samoa in 2016.
Joining Clark in the Māori line-up will be fellow Titans Kevin Proctor, Esan Marsters and Patrick Herbert, the man who woke Clark from his slumber to tell him coach David Kidwell was about to ring through with the good news.
"I was in bed when I found out I was in the side," Clark smiles. "Patrick rang me and said, ‘Kiddy is going to ring you, I gave him your number’.
"So I sat up, it was early as but I was over the moon.
All Stars teams named for February 12 clash
"It was a typical Kiwi chat. He said, ‘Chur, bro. You fit, you healthy? Would you be keen to play in the Māoris?’ and I said, '100 per cent, defintely'."
Clark hails from Auckland and played his junior footy for the Manurewa Marlins before making his NRL debut for the Warriors as a 19-year-old in 2017.
He then joined the Canberra Raiders but lost his passion for the game and moved back to Auckland where he worked as a labourer in 2019 before giving the NRL one last crack during the 2020 pre-season.
He dropped an astonishing 20kg that summer to earn a full-time contract with the Titans and the reward for his dedication has come with the Māori call-up and the promise of the starting No.9 role in Justin Holbrook's team in 2022.
Match Highlights: Indigenous v Maori
Before he sets about helping the Titans exorcise the demons of their 2021 finals exit at the hands of the Roosters, 24-year-old Clark is determined to lap up every moment of the All Stars experience and savour the chance to play alongside the likes of last year's Preston Campbell Medalist James Fisher-Harris and Storm premiership winner Kenny Bromwich.
"Two years ago I was at home watching this [All Stars] game so to be named in the team and be able to run out in the jersey is definitely a privilege and something I will remember for the rest of my life," Clark said.
"This is not just for me but for my family as well. My family mean a lot to me.
"My culture, where I am from, New Zealand, just to where that symbol on my chest is something I am going to be proud of."
One of the men looking to spoil Clark's big night will be Fifita, who looms as a key attacking weapon in the Indigenous All Stars' arsenal as they chase their first victory in the showpiece game since 2019.
Fifita was among the tryscorers that night in Melbourne as Laurie Daley's men prevailed 34-14 before the Māori turned the tables on the Gold Coast in 2020 and last year's clash ended in a draw.
"It means a lot to look back to where I came from and representing my grandparents and my mum’s culture and representing my heritage and the people who played before me and get to wear the proud jersey," Fifita said.
"This is a game I always want to be a part of and represent and I'm looking forward to the week and getting amongst it with the boys.
"The camp is amazing with the Indigenous and Māori boys coming together and learning about their culture and we have some good laughs.
"This is the first injury-free pre-season I've had and I'm in good nick. I'm about 113kg and I'm happy where I’m at with my fitness."