Mate Ma'a Tonga

Tonga ready to compete with Kangaroos, says David Fusitu'a

A match-up between the world champions and the darlings of last year's World Cup has been muted for some time. Australia coach Mal Meninga is a fan of the idea and negotiations between the respective parties are said to be ongoing.

With Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and the rest of their World Cup squad sticking with Mate Ma'a Tonga, the Kristian Woolf-coached side showed they are here to stay with a dominant victory over Samoa last month.

The Tongans produced a first-half blitz that several experts believed would have given the Kangaroos a run for their money.

Samoa out to make amends and plan for the future

Despite reaching the quarter finals after salvaging a 14-all draw against Scotland in the group stages of the tournament, the winless Samoan side were embroiled with backlash after a string of disappointing performances and talk their talk of players – including Leilua – returning to their NRL clubs in the pre-season overweight.

One of the more experienced leaders in the line-up, Leilua told coach Matt Parish identified the fixture as a chance to build depth for the nation.

"They're the future for our team," Leilua said.

Mate Ma'a Tonga moves up league world rankings

Tonga reached the semi-finals, going down to runners up England.

Tonga head coach Kristian Woolf, who oversaw a thrilling victory over New Zealand and a narrow defeat to England, does not want to have to wait until the 2021 World Cup to face the top sides again.

"The Mate Ma'a's move is just reward for a very strong year including a great World Cup campaign," he said.

"It is something we want to continue, with the opportunity to be involved in more international games in the future and the ability to compete against the top three nations," he said.

Woolf returns to work

Then again Woolf was never hanging by the phone.

Woolf arrived back at work with the Blackhawks last week, just days after visiting Tonga with the rest of his Mate Ma’a squad and receiving a hero’s welcome from the Island kingdom’s fanatical supporters, including its royal family.

Tonga’s inspired run to the semi-finals, which included knocking over 2008 world champions New Zealand, was the story of this year’s World Cup, as were Tonga’s unified and passionate supporters.

Vava’u fans breach airport regulations during rugby league stars visit

They ignored warnings from Police who were there to make sure everyone was safe.

Police appeared happy before moving aside to watch.

Some Mate Ma’a Tonga players including Konrad Hurrell and Peni Terepo flew from Tongatapu to Vava’u after they were welcomed to the kingdom on Tuesday with a national celebration which featured public floats, royal ceremony and a block party.

Women in Vava’u surrounded the aircraft’s stairway and carried the MMT stars.

Terepo and Hurrell appeared elated while they were carried by the fans.

Tonga Rugby League President clarifies players missing church leaders’ prayer services

Sika said the team came to Tonga after an invitation from the King to a ceremony at the royal palace.

He said the programme was set to make sure the boys would also have enough time to meet their family and their rugby league supporters who could not go to New Zealand to support the national team.

He said it was important for all sectors in the Tongan community to communicate with his national committee which was working to ensure there were no clashes between functions people wanted the team to attend.

MMT recalls Tongan tradition of courage and respect in times of defeat, says academic

Sione Tu’itahi, a former Tongan journalist, writer and lecturer at Massey University and now
director of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand said these players were true patriots who gave everything for their purposes.

Tu’itahi said the players showed in their performance against England at the Mt Smart on
Saturday 25 they loved and remembered their homeland.

Tonga lost to England 18-20 in what many have described as history in the making.

Tonga declares public holiday Mate Ma’a Tonga world cup campaign

All team players will return to Tonga today except for six who require medical attention.

As Kaniva News reported the players will be invested with an award of the Royal Orders to recognise their contribution to sports.

The investiture ceremony will be held on Wednesday (November 29) at the Royal Palace at 4.30 pm (local time).

The awards will reflect the tremendous effort Tonga made to take on top tier teams like England and New Zealand and to come within a whisker of gaining a place in the finals.

Mate Ma‘a Tonga players to receive royal award from King Tupou VI

In a letter to President Sēmisi Sika of the Tonga Rugby League Association, the royal Chamberlain said: “I wish to inform that His Majesty The King has been pleased to invest the MMT players with an award of the Royal Orders in recognition of their contribution to sports.

The Investiture Ceremony is now planned to be held on Wednesday 29th November 2017 at the Royal Palace at 4.30 pm and to be followed by Refreshments until 6.30 p.m.”

Time for England to address ball control

The Wayne Bennett-coached side have completed at below 80 per cent in three of their four games so far, culminating in a sloppy effort in last week's 36-6 quarter-final victory over Papua New Guinea, where they completed just over half of their 46 sets.