rugby league

Jennings stars as giant-killing Tonga claim Lions scalp

In front of a crowd of 9420, at the same venue where two years earlier they beat the Kiwis to make history as the first tier-two nation to beat a top-tier side, Tonga dominated the first half and then defended their line resolutely in the second.

Michael Jennings was at his scintillating best, scoring the opening try of the match and setting up the second after the half-time siren.

Guided around the park by 18-year-old debutant Tesi Niu, who was a late call-up in place of Ata Hingano (shoulder), the Pacific kingdom sent their fans into raptures.

Tonga dismiss distractions, focus on Great Britain

The team is playing under the banner of "Invitational XIII" after a court ruled the Tonga National Rugby League was the only authority able to operate the official national side, Mate Ma'a Tonga, following a long-running dispute between coach Kristian Woolf and the TNRL.

Captain Jason Taumalolo says the off-field politics have not been a focus for the players.

"It hasn't really affected us as much as I thought. The boys have been great coming into camp and since they walked into camp on day one it's all been about footy," Taumalolo said.

Emotions to run high for Tonga's Test 'homecoming'

Tonga became the first second-tier nation to beat a tier-one side when they beat New Zealand 28-22 that day, and ahead of facing Great Britain on Saturday night Taukeiaho said the venue and city of Hamilton remained special to the squad.

"It is going to bring out some emotions for sure," Taukeiaho said.

"A lot of us love being here in Hamilton because of that memory, we have a lot of fans here as well and the atmosphere is awesome.

"It's good to be back in the colours again seeing familiar faces, as well as some new faces coming into the squad."

Raiders crush Warriors 46-12 in NRL

Disappointment is the only word Warriors coach Stephen Kearney could conjure post-match after his side's remote finals aspirations dreams were all-but buried at Mount Smart stadium last night.

They'll remain 12th by the end of the weekend but can't fancy their hopes on current form, combined with a tough run home and ongoing injury problems for Kodi Nikorima and Karl Lawton.

Coach Stephen Kearney delivered his lacklustre players a rocket at the break and was still steaming at fulltime.

Kearney can't explain Warriors meltdown

The 46-12 loss to the Raiders on Friday left Kearney feeling angrier than he could remember.

His team trailing 30-0 at halftime, the coach was captured by television cameras delivering a dressing down to his players in the shed which involved furiously kicking a stray towel. It would have hit Peta Hiku in the head if the centre hadn't taken evasive action.

Kearney was angry that after a run of six gritty showings, in which no game was decided by more than four points, his side failed to front in their first game in Auckland for a month.

Tonga in need of sponsorship to continue playing in Oceania League Cup

Last weekend Mate Ma'a Tonga fans packed out Mt Smart Stadium once again but the team are now left in need of sponsorship to continue playing at the Oceania League Cup.

Melino Maka, says Tonga's NRL currently only have enough funding to pay for half of the two-week preparation period where the players will be training together in New Zealand before in the lead up to their next game in October.

Mr Maka has been working to coordinate permanent sponsorship for the team which he says is desperately needed.

Fiji Residents beat Tonga in Tri Series

Fiji scored the first try of the match in the fourth minute through Penioni Tagitumua to give them the 6-0 lead.

Tonga came back with two tries and led at halftime 10-6.

Captain Pio Seci managed to break the Tongan’s defence to score Fiji’s second try before Michael Peters sealed the victory with another try.


Fiji Residents thrash Tonga Residents

Fiji dominated most parts of the game and led 24-4 in the first half.

In the second half, the Fiji Residents were again in control as they rampaged through the Tongan defence.

Fiji scored a total of 10 tries.

The two will meet again next Wednesday at 3pm at the ANZ Stadium.


Rugby League: Warriors treatment of Johnson 'harsh'

The Kiwi NRL club has advised long-serving playmaker Johnson to test his value on the open market, even though there's a year to run on his contract.

The timing and public nature of the Warriors announcement was criticised by Nikorima, coming midway through New Zealand's three-Test series in England.

He said his room mate Johnson was caught off guard, days out from Sunday's second Test in Liverpool.

NRL anti-violence program expands into Tonga

The NRL visited Tonga at the start of September to address the Tongan Government and a number of local organisations who are eager to support the NRL in delivering the anti-violence model.

Those organisations include; Families Free Of Violence (FFOV), Legal Aid, Women's Crisis Centre (WCC), Ma'a Fafine Mo E Famili (For women and families), Tonga National Centre for Women and Children (TNCWC), TALIFA and Ministry of Internal Affairs – Women's Division ( MIA).