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Andrew Fifita's words inspired Tevita Pangai Junior to turn down Origin for Mate Ma'a Tonga

Broncos star Tevita Pangai Junior says hearing Andrew Fifita speak of his pride of playing for Tonga made it easy to turn down the possibility of playing State of Origin. 

The versatile 23-year-old will wear the number 11 jersey as Mate Ma'a Tonga take on the Kiwis in Auckland on Saturday.

However, he could have been preparing for Origin Two in Perth on Sunday if things had gone differently.

Playing for Tonga came naturally, however, after some words from Fifita, who is missing the match through suspension.

"For me, I don’t lose sleep at night thinking if I put on that Blues jersey, what it would feel like," he said.

"Hearing the words from Andrew saying that a Tonga jersey means more to him than a Blues jersey means a lot to me, I don’t think I have to go back and try to make the Origin team.

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Taukeiaho said that his NRL teammate is "a good mate" but come Saturday they will be rivals. Source: 1 NEWS

"I was at game one and it wasn’t really that loud to be honest, I reckon 30,000 Tongan people screaming is a lot louder."

Pangai Junior admits the likes of NSW coach Freddy Filter had talked to him about "testing himself in the best arena", but for him, there was no greater stage than playing for his country.

"Obviously there’s a lot of people in the game and big in the game pushing the international game, like Mal [Meninga] and all those guys.

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Vatuvei gave the Mate Ma'a Tonga star grief during a media session in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

"And obviously Andrew [Fifita], Jason [Taumalolo], Sio Siua [Taukeiaho] – putting their hand up for Tonga to grow the international game.

"My heart was always with Tonga, like I said as a young fella, you try take advice from other people but it is always up to you in the end."

 

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The Broncos star said it is getting harder and harder to make the Mate Ma'a Tonga starting team with the high calibre players coming through. Source: 1 NEWS