Andrew Fifita

Fifita humbled with respect shown by Kangaroos

Then they burst into song, calling for the Tongan prop to drink it like anyone else who walked into that dressing room.

"To be honest yeah, they did," Fifita said when asked if he was one of the players you could hear the Aussies cheering from the corridors beneath Mt Smart Stadium.

"It's just old rituals. I remember doing the left hand skoll. I don't really drink often now but when the boys ask you it's just mutual respect. It's not me but I do it for the boys because it's just the respect coming out of that game."

Fifita wants Tonga's shot at Kangaroos

Fifita helped kickstart a revolution of the global game last year when he walked away from Australia to play for Tonga, creating unprecedented interest in the Pacific nations with the help of Jason Taumalolo.

Tonga are desperate for a maiden Test against the Kangaroos at the end of this year and did their chances no harm in Saturday night's 38-22 defeat of Samoa in front of almost 18,000 people at Sydney's Campbelltown Stadium.

'I'm Tonga for life' - Andrew Fifita turns back on Kangaroos, NSW

The often controversial and always forthright Cronulla prop said he would play out the rest of his representative career for Mate Ma'a, forgoing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

Fifita did not close the door on playing State of Origin for NSW again one day, however the likelihood of that occurring seems slim after slipping down Blues coach Brad Fittler's pecking order.

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Fifita offers to play Origin for free

The NRL's Dally M leader made the stunning pledge after leading Cronulla to their fifth straight win on Sunday, a 22-16 home triumph over Canterbury that vaulted the Sharks into fifth spot.

"If they can make it happen, I'm not just going to go out there - I'd play for free. I'll donate my money to charity. I don't really mind," Fifita told Triple M radio.

Fittler earlier said he wouldn't rule out selecting Fifita for game one of the series in Melbourne on June 6 despite the tearaway front-rower being unavailable for Origin II on June 24.

Sharks injuries update: Andrew Fifita cleared of ACL injury

But the Australia-Tonga forward will miss anywhere from a week to a month as he has severe swelling on the knee and some bone bruising.

In other news to lighten coach Shane Flanagan's mood, his other starting prop Matt Prior has escaped suspension and can play against Penrith next Sunday at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

The match review committee issued a grade one charge and $1500 fine, which reduces to $1350 if he pleads guilty early. Prior would then be free to play the Panthers.

"That's massive news for us," Flanagan told NRL.com.

Tonga secure big guns as Fifita makes rep switch

In a huge boost for international rugby league and Tonga's rapid development as a challenger to the game's traditional heavyweights, Fifita has revealed a pact instigated by Taumalolo after last year's surprise World Cup finals charge convinced him to rule himself out of Australian and NSW Blues contention.

Fifita said he and Taumalolo had reaffirmed their commitment to the Mata Ma'u during a meeting with Tonga coach Kristian Woolf in North Queensland before last month's round-one clash between the Sharks and the North Queensland Cowboys.

Fifita reveals support for Lodge rehab

Lodge, who has not played a Telstra Premiership match since 2015, will make his comeback in Thursday night’s season opener against St George Illawarra Dragons after being encouraged by Fifita to check in to a rehabilitation clinic.

In the past two years, he has attended a series of rehabilitation programs and been regularly tested for alcohol and drugs, but debate has raged leading into the game at Kogarah about whether he should be allowed back in the NRL.

Fifita still undecided over representative honours

However, Fifita will have to make a call at some stage given that Tonga play Samoa in a one-off test the same weekend as the second Origin match.

Fifita, who represented Tonga at last year's World Cup, has said he would wait until as late as the week before the first Origin clash before making a decision.

But Cordner said he wouldn't try to sway the front-rower either way, and insisted he would have no questions over Fifita's commitment to the Blues even if he left it to the last minute.

The one reason Andrew Fifita will turn his back on Tonga

The Cronulla prop has hinted he will choose NSW over Tonga if he has to make that choice midyear.

The second State of Origin game falls the day after Mate Ma’a Tonga will play Samoa in one of the Pacific Tests at Campbelltown Stadium.

And as much as Fifita loves representing the international minnow he led to a World Cup semi final, he can’t pass up the chance to win his maiden Origin series.

Of course, it will come down to new Blues coach Brad Fittler and whether he selects the incumbent front rower in his squad.

Fifita, Woolf divided on late call

After the ball came loose and Fifita regathered to score what would have been the winning try on the final play of the game, referee Matt Cecchin ruled the NSW enforcer had knocked on rather than had the ball stripped by Elliott Whitehead in the lead up.

Further evidence suggests the call was correct, and post-match Fifita was quick to move past the issue, linking it to his stunning try in the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final where, on that occasion, luck favoured him.

"Look, that's football," Fifita said.