'All of Tonga turned up' – Ata Hingano humbled by passionate fans on first trip to his homeland

Warriors and Tonga playmaker Ata Hingano has spoken about his first trip to his homeland after being humbled by the rapturous welcome his side were given by their fans.

The team will spend the next week in Tonga, given a chance to bond with one another as well as meet their fans before the Rugby League World Cup later this month, with Hingano blown away by the reception from the locals since players began to arrive yesterday.

"It's been pretty mean!" Hingano told 1 NEWS.

"Pretty much all of Tonga turned up, it definitely made the first day a memorable one."

Hingano even joked that he's wanting to get a gold tooth or two while in Tonga.

Ata Hingano, Tui Lolohea and Sione Katoa spoke passionately about what returning to the island means to them and their family. Source: 1 NEWS

Half of the Tongan squad arrived in Tonga today with Jason Taumalolo and rest set to arrive tomorrow Source: 1 NEWS

Andrew Fifita, Daniel Tupou, David Fusitua and other NRL players touched down in Tonga today. Source: 1 NEWS

"If there's time, probably yeah," he said while giggling.

The Warriors playmaker joked that he might even get a gold tooth, as is the local custom. Source: 1 NEWS


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'Touch wood that he is okay' - Paul Gallen in doubt for Sharks' tilt at NRL title

Cronulla are bracing for the prospect of being without inspirational captain Paul Gallen for Friday night's blockbuster NRL preliminary final showdown with the Melbourne Storm.

Gallen suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of the Sharks' heart- stopping 21-20 semi-final win over Penrith and is racing the clock to be fit for the grudge match with their 2016 grand final rivals at AAMI Park.

"Gal is just a wait and see. We will get a scan. Touch wood that he is okay but it is a bit unknown," Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said.

"When Gal doesn't come back on, I am real concerned. He usually can just go in and get it strapped up and battle on. For him not to come back in a big semi- final is a bit concerning."

At 37, Gallen delivered one of his best performances of the season before the Sharks needed a Chad Townsend field goal five minutes from fulltime to avoid a shattering loss after having led the Panthers 18-0 at Allianz Stadium.

The Sharks are also sweating on fellow forward enforcer Luke Lewis to recover from a calf injury, but the retiring veteran insists he'll be "sweet"

"I'll be fine mate, to be honest with you," Lewis told AAP.

"I've just got to get through the next couple of days, get all the swelling down.

"But it's just a cork in a crappy position. It is what it is, though. I'm not too stressed about it."

The Sharks are one of the few teams to have the wood over Melbourne, not only famously beating the Storm in the grand final two years ago to win the club's elusive maiden premiership, but also conquering Craig Bellamy's team twice already this season.

"I am obviously excited about it," Flanagan said of the latest match-up for a berth in the 2018 title decider against either the Sydney Roosters, South Sydney or St George Illawarra.

"We have had some great tussles with them obviously from the (2016) grand final. They have been fantastic games.

"We have been lucky enough to win some and unlucky on a couple of occasions or they have been too good for us.

"It is a real challenge going down there on the back of Melbourne having a week off. They will be fresh.

"They will have some players back from suspension (Will Chambers) and injury (Nelson Asofa-Solomona) so we will have to be on our game if we are going to play in the grand final."

Paul Gallen of the Sharks Source: Getty


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Storm skipper Cameron Smith reportedly agrees deal to play 18th NRL season

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith has reportedly agreed to terms to play an 18th NRL season with the Storm, which will see him pass 400 games.

Ahead of their preliminary final against Cronulla in Melbourne next Friday night, Smith has put pen to paper, according to News Corp Australia.

The 35-year-old made clear through the season his intentions to play on in 2019 but chief executive Dave Donaghy confirmed the parties had reached agreement on Thursday on a $1 million deal.

The Australian captain is the most capped NRL player of all time with 382 appearances - barring injury the new contract will allow him to play past the 400-game mark.

The Storm are set to lose veterans Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffman, who will retire at season's end, so Smith's extension is timely.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith celebrates his drop goal. Source: Getty


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Watch: Kiwi Ferns star barges through Roosters defence to score for Broncos

Brisbane have all but cemented their spot in the NRLW final after overcoming some early nerves to convincingly beat the Sydney Roosters 14-4.

It was the Broncos' second win from as many matches and cemented their status as the team to beat in the inaugural women's competition at Allianz Stadium tonight.

Not even the return of Jillaroos prop Ruan Sims could inspire the Roosters, who are winless after two games and out of the running to advance.

To make matters worse, they could be without star centre Isabelle Kelly next week after a crusher tackle on Meg Ward midway through the second half.

The Broncos led 10-0 at halftime but the scoreline could have easily been reversed after the Roosters bombed two tries in the opening 13 minutes.

Back-rower Vanessa Foliaki looked certain to score before being held up by a desperate Chelsea Baker.

Roosters fullback Karina Brown also let a try go begging when she failed to ground a loose grubber, and from there the Broncos took control.

Ali Brigginshaw dummied her way through the line before Teuila Fotu-Moala crashed over five minutes later to give the Broncos a healthy lead at the break.

Fotu-Moala was sensational, running for 122m as well as making two linebreaks and four tackle busts.

Broncos centre Ward delivered the coup de grace seven minutes after halftime.

Kelly got the Roosters' only points when she crossed on the back of a weight of possession with two minutes remaining.

After their 30-4 romp over the Dragons last week, the Broncos are the only unbeaten side in the competition.

They would have to lose to the Warriors next week and have several results run against them to miss the final.


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