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Dragons winger Jordan Pereira

After being rewarded for his rapid rise to being St George Illawarra's No.1 winger with a contract extension, Jordan Pereira has revealed that he is available for England selection.

Pereira, who is expected to be the first winger picked by Dragons coach Paul McGregor for Saturday night’s opening round trip to North Queensland, was born in New Zealand to a Samoan father and English mother so he qualifies for all three nations.

"I suppose it is not really my option because someone has to pick me but in terms of my eligibility, England is an option, New Zealand is an option and Samoa is an option," Pereira said.

"I love playing footy whether it is park footy, reserve grade or NRL so if I get the opportunity to play any representative games I am ready to roll."

Asked if he had a preference, the 25-year-old said he would be proud to represent any of the three nations.

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"I grew up in New Zealand but I wasn't raised by Kiwis, I was raised by an English woman and my dad is from Samoa so it is hard to pick," he said. "I don't really know what I am – I just call myself a human."

However, Pereira said he had let St George Illawarra team-mate James Graham know ahead of last year’s three-Test series against the Kiwis that he was eligible for England through his mother Lesley, who migrated to New Zealand when she was 20.

With Sydney Roosters recruit Ryan Hall sidelined by a knee injury, England did not have an established left winger but Tommy Makinson earned the nod from Wayne Bennett and won the Golden Boot as 2018 International Player of the Year.

I grew up in New Zealand ... I was raised by an English woman and my dad is from Samoa so it is hard to pick

Dragons winger Jordan Pereira

"James is obviously a proud Englishman and I tried to tell him to get the coach to put me into the team for the Kiwis tour at the end of the year," Pereira said.

After having to wait until Round 19 last season to make his NRL debut, Pereira has cemented his position in the Dragons backline and can now be considered the club's No.1 winger following the retirement of Jason Nightingale and Nene Macdonald's departure to the Cowboys.

He signed a new two-year deal with St George Illawarra in September and this week agreed to stay a further 12 months until the end of the 2021 season.

"There's some really dark places I had to go through to get here. I just didn't give up," he said.

"I was knocked back many times but it didn't faze me because I was grateful to be playing whatever grade I was in. Rugby league is so much fun."

While his future is now secure, Pereira knows he cannot rest on his laurels and is determined to keep working hard to establish himself in the NRL.

"I know for a fact I was on the bottom of the hierarchy this time last year so it is definitely an improvement to where I was," Pereira said of suggestions he was now McGregor’s first choice winger.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour 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 Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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