Tonga Rugby League

Kotoni Staggs keen for more Tonga caps

The 20 year old started at centre in last weekend's 34-14 Oceania Cup rugby league defeat by New Zealand in Auckland and says it's an occasion he will cherish for the rest of his life.

Staggs is of Indigenous Australian and Tongan descent but has yet to meet his Tongan father, who lives in the United States.

He says getting to know a bit more about his Tongan background was a humbling experience.

Andrew Fifita calls on top silk to keep Tongan Test dream alive

Fifita is expected to fly to New Zealand on Sunday night and join the Tongan camp ahead of Saturday's blockbuster against the Kiwis. He will appear at the NRL judiciary via video link where he runs the risk of being suspended three matches for a dangerous contact charge.

Fifita landed in hot water for his crusher tackle on Canberra's Ryan Sutton, but reached out to top silk Nick Ghabar to argue his case.

The Sharks superstar will plead guilty to the charge, but seek a downgrade from a grade two to a grade one, which would mean escaping a ban.

Kiwis lose another player to Tonga with Manly's Manase Fainu spurning New Zealand approach

The 20-year-old - who made his NRL debut in 20187 - spurned an approach from Kiwis coach Michael Maguire and confirmed his allegiance to Tonga, reported.

Fainu follows a pathway created by four players - Jason Taumalolo, David Fusitu'a, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Manu Ma'u - who defected from the Kiwis for Tonga on the eve of the 2017 Rugby World Cup tournament.

Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake, who played for the Kiwis at the World Cup, switched to Tonga in 2018.

Fonua-Blake helped convince Sydney-born Fainu, who has Māori and Tongan heritage, to commit to Tonga.

The night Tonga roared to life

As Tonga closed in on a drought-breaking win over Pacific Island rivals Samoa in the first Pacific Test in Penrith in April 2013, the exuberant red army of Tongan supporters could no longer be contained.

A few made their way onto the field as Samisoni Langi lined up the conversion of his own try six minutes from full-time, one getting so far as to be able to give Langi a congratulatory pat on the back before departing in his best 'Hayne Plane' impression.

Kieran Foran eyes Kiwis return for Tonga test

Foran hasn't pulled on the black jumper since the last Anzac Day test in 2017, having battled injury for the second half of last year.

The 28-year-old also missed five games earlier this season due to an ankle injury, but declared himself back to full strength after playing four-straight games.

"My body's starting to feel really good," said Foran.

"It's great to be playing week in, week out footy and not have any niggles and injuries at the moment. My ankle's feeling good. Physically, I feel really good."

Titans prop urged to secure a Tonga jersey

In his second year in top grade, Fotuaika has continued to live up to the hype, elevating himself into the Titans starting team with consistently strong performances the past two weeks.

The 19-year-old responded by punching out 200-plus metres against both Manly and North Queensland and on Sunday faces the challenge of fronting up against former Keebra Park State High School teammates David Fifita and Payne Haas.

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.

Tonga rugby league team spurn Sydney in favour of Hamilton homecoming

It's understood the team were originally planning on holding their training camp in Sydney, before the idea was floated of returning to Hamilton - scene of those epic World Cup wins over Samoa, and a first-ever against New Zealand, 11 months ago.

So after a team arrival in Auckland on Wednesday evening, it was off down State Highway One to set up camp for a few days, before the team will return to Auckland on Monday for the buildup to next Saturday night's sold-out game at Mt Smart Stadium.

'We'll have our hands full' – Tonga star Jason Taumalolo says Kangaroos new looked team still a huge threat

With Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater retired from international football Taumalolo believes the new looked Australian team will be a tough challenge.

"I think regardless they'll always going to be a strong team," said Taumalolo.

"The team that they have picked for this year’s game is no different.

"They might have lost some experience but with that they have got a lot of youth and a lot of talented players."

Fans turn out in force to greet Mate Ma'a Tonga rugby league team

It was a kiwi welcome for Mate Ma'a Tonga and a clear sign the Tongan tide is back.

Thousands of fans dressed in red packed out the stadium for the first of two public events before the 29-strong Mate Ma'a Tonga squad go head to head for the first time with world champions the Kangaroos at Mt Smart Stadium on 20 October.

Waiting eagerly at the front of the stage with her siblings was 13-year-old Ana Malini.