The one reason Andrew Fifita will turn his back on Tonga

ANDREW Fifita is likely to turn his back on Tonga, albeit briefly, in order to achieve the final goal on his rugby league to-do list.

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.

“It’s a tough one ... I love NSW, and the only thing I have left to do is win an Origin series,” Fifita told Fox Sports.

“I missed 2014 (Origin series win) through injury ... it’s one of the toughest decisions in the world.

“I know how much it means to Tonga and to my parents and grandparents, my family and friends, and to the other squad members how much it means to play for Tonga.”

As the RLIF rules stand, Fifita is allowed to represent both NSW and Tonga given the latter is a tier-two nation.

But obviously with the scheduling clash in June, he’ll have to make a decision either way.

What he can’t do is represent both Australia and Tonga. He turned his back on the former on the eve of the World Cup, leaving many in Kangaroos camp with a sour taste.

He wasn’t the only one to do so.

Jason Taumalolo snubbed New Zealand in defecting to Tonga as well, which angered a lot of Kiwis players and supporters.

As the Cowboys star is ineligible for State of Origin he will be free to represent Tonga at the mid-season Pacific Test.

But he said last month he will need to make a decision “sooner rather than later” on where his allegiances lie, given the Kiwis play a number of Tests at the end of the year.

The main discussion point around Tonga’s remarkable World Cup run has been the gulf in pay between tier one and tier two nations.

Tonga players received a fraction of the money those representing Australia, England or New Zealand received for the tournament.

And if Fifita turned his back on Origin to represent Tonga again this year, he could be missing out on upwards of $90,000.

Still, he insists his decision will not be based on money.

He says the gratitude and love he received from the Tongan faithful during the World Cup is what will sway him towards representing the island nation again.

He was even congratulated by other professional sportspeople from around the globe.

“It’s weird how many Tongans are out there and who have family back in Tonga. Not only in Australia but also in America, England ... I was getting messages from NFL players, rugby players, soccer players,” Fifita said.

“What we did for our country, how successful we were ... there’s no better feeling than giving back to our tiny little country, and changing the international game.”