Barely able to be located on a World Map, the Cook Islands can be spotted in the South Pacific Ocean between countries such as New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.

Although the country has a population of only around 17,000, it has produced countless NRL players and appeared in three World Cup tournaments - 2000, 2013, and 2021.

The late Troy Dargan, the Marsters brothers (Esan, Leion and Steven), Jordan Rapana and Brad Takairangi are just a few players to run out for the Kuki's over the years.

However, unlike the above players, it was Kayal Iro's destiny to one day run out onto the field for the Cook Islands after watching his father, Kevin Iro, represent the country as a child.

Iro made this dream into a reality in 2019 before arguably being their best player at the recent Rugby League World Cup in 2022 under coach and uncle Tony Iro.

Speaking to Zero Tackle, Kayal Iro recounted what it meant to run out in his nation's jersey and to represent the Cook Islands on the international stage.

"It was massive for me," Iro told Zero Tackle.

"I debuted against South Africa back in 2019. So I was still young, just playing 20s and I thought I was over the world.

"Growing up me and my brother always spoke to each other as kids just saying one day we're going to represent Cook Islands together and it's pretty crazy to actually put on that jersey because I'm a real proud Cook Islander."

Starting the season in the NSW Cup, Iro has cemented a spot in the centres, with Jesse Ramien pushing Siosifa Talakai to the forward pack.

Only 24, his best is yet to come and he is looking to pay back the club after they signed him to his first professional NRL contract, following stints with the New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights in their respective Under-20s teams.

"It's just a good club. I love the area," he added.

"I'm living down in Cronulla now so just love the boys cause everyone's just connected well.

"Everyone's good, there's no real dickheads as they say (and) everyone's pretty close to each other."

This publication understands that Iro and the Cronulla Sharks have continually been in discussions over a new contract extension.

However, just like last season before he committed to the club, whispers have emerged linking him with various teams such as the Parramatta Eels.

Kayal Iro and the Cronulla Sharks will take on the Gold Coast Titans at Coffs Harbour on Friday as they attempt to remain in the top four.