NRL

Maroons Origin team: Emotional Walters names new faces, declares 'war'

The Maroons coach said debutants Moses Mbye, Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita had earned their jerseys and would do the state proud as his eyes glazed over with the passion and emotion that has defined his tenure in charge of the Maroons.

Broncos forwards Ofahengaue and Fifita will come off the bench, as will Mbye with the Wests Tigers skipper beating Anthony Milford to the vital utility spot.

“I'm ready, we are ready. This is war,” Walters said.

Andrew Fifita hints at another Tongan defection ahead of Kiwis test

Cronulla prop Fifita suggested his cousin was considering committing to the Mate Ma'a for next month's test against New Zealand in what would be a massive blow for Queensland's depth.

David Fifita was thought to be a leading contender to grab a Queensland bench spot for Origin I in a fortnight.

But Andrew Fifita said he was one of a host of young players with dual eligibility who wanted to commit to the fast-emerging Pacific nation.

"I feel like change is coming, especially for the international game," Andrew Fifita said.

NRL slam door shut on fallen rugby star Israel Folau

Folau has decided against appealing Rugby Australia sacking him over his homophobic social media post though he hinted he wanted to continue as an athlete.

A route back to league where he started his stunning multi-code career has been largely dismissed and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie dashed any faint hopes of that in a damning fresh statement on Folau.

When it was suggested that Folau hadn't been fined or suspended by rugby and there was a technical opening for him to switch back to league, Beattie hit back.

Aussie veteran Cooper Cronk to announce NRL retirement

The 35-year-old, who won two premierships with the Melbourne Storm and then another last season with the Sydney Roosters, will hang up his boots at the end of the current campaign.

Cronk's retirement comes 16 years after he first pulled on a Storm jersey and, in the years since, only Johnathan Thurston has received as many plaudits as one of the NRL's very best playmakers.

Through 360 NRL games, 22 Origins and 38 Tests for Australia, Cronk has won it all.

Emerging Tongans queuing up for Kiwis Test

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf said the likes of Broncos pair Kotoni Staggs and David Fifita, as well as   hard-running Titans forward Moeaki Fotuaika would all be considered for debuts against New Zealand next month.

Fainu would have potentially made his first Tongan cameo against Australia at the end of last year had he not been suspended, said Woolf, while Souths prop Junior Tatola looked set to add to his one Test appearance.

Fifita and Prior should be right for Manly

The Sharks lost Fifita barely seven minutes into their Magic Round win over the Titans and Prior not long after.

But veteran skipper Paul Gallen lifted in the pair's absence along with big contributions from bench forwards Brayden Hamlin-Uele, Jack Williams and Jayson Bukuya to overturn an 18-10 halftime deficit to run home 26-18 winners over an ill-disciplined Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

Fainu facing international eligibility decision

Born in Sydney, Fainu's rapid rise through the NRL ranks has landed him at the forefront of discussions for both Tonga and the Kiwis.

Another spanner was thrown into the works when the 20-year-old met with NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and declared an interest in playing State of Origin for the Blues.

Fainu spent time with the Tongan squad ahead of the Pacific Test in June last season after representing the Junior Kiwis in 2017 on account of his mother's heritage.

He was selected for a Junior Kiwis' squad in 2018 but did not play.

NRL no place for Israel Folau, claims sport's chief

When Rugby Australia indicated its intention to sack Folau last month, eyes almost immediately turned to a handful of NRL clubs who could afford to bring the controversial fullback on board.

But before they could even pick up the phone, Beattie made a stand by declaring the NRL off limits for the fallen star.

Speaking in Brisbane ahead of the NRL Magic Round, Beattie reiterated the reasons behind that decision.

Fainu facing international eligibility decision

Born in Sydney, Fainu's rapid rise through the NRL ranks has landed him at the forefront of discussions for both Tonga and the Kiwis.

Another spanner was thrown into the works when the 20-year-old met with NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and declared an interest in playing State of Origin for the Blues.

Fainu spent time with the Tongan squad ahead of the Pacific Test in June last season after representing the Junior Kiwis in 2017 on account of his mother's heritage.

He was selected for a Junior Kiwis' squad in 2018 but did not play.

Kearney coy on Nikorima joining Warriors

Nikorima has been left out of the Broncos side to play South Sydney tomorrow with Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold saying he needed time to ponder his future.

Seibold has said he couldn't guarantee the out of form Nikorima a future at the NRL club beyond 2020.

An announcement on Nikorima's early release from the Broncos is believed to be imminent and Kearney confirmed the Warriors had offered Nikorima a four year deal from 2020 but Brisbane appear ready to let him go sooner although Kearney was sensitive about discussing Nikorima's immediate future.