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'I couldn't say no' – Ex-Warriors boss Frank Endacott named as Mate Ma'a Tonga coach

New Mate Ma'a Tonga coach Frank Endacott says he couldn't turn down the chance to work with some of the most exciting players in rugby league, taking over from Kristian Woolf.

After Woolf was sacked by the Tonga National Rugby League board earlier this week, 71-year-old Endacott has stepped in to coach Mate Ma'a Tonga at short notice, with the side facing off against the Great Britain Lions later this year.

A star coaching name in the 1990s, Endacott's CV boasts teams such as the Kiwis, the Warriors and Wigan in the UK Super League. He will be joined by the likes of former Kiwis Manu Vatuvei and Duane Mann.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, Endacott gave his reasons for returning to coaching in his 70s.

"When I received the phone call [asking] would I be interested in the job if it came up, I thought about it, and I thought they're not playing the Kiwis, they're playing Great Britain and Australia in two Tests," Endacott said.

"To be honest with you, I couldn't say no."

Endacott's first task comes in the shape of convincing Tonga's star players to return to the jersey, with reports of the likes of Andrew Fiifta and Jason Taumalolo among those threatening to boycott this year's Tests after the sacking of Woolf.

"The players are some of the most exciting players in the world. Let's face it, though - to beat Great Britain and Australia, we need the best and we need them all available for it."

Endacott is also optimistic that he won't suffer the same fate as Woolf, hopeful of staying onside with the Tongan Rugby League board.

"I get on with people, that's one of my stronger points.

"I have no problem with any board, let alone the Tongan board.

"It was unfortunate what happened to Kristian and the board, but if you're going to succeed, you've got to get on with each other, [and] all go in the one direction.

"If you've got someone going against the grain, something's going to happen."

Tonga are next in action against Great Britain on October 26 in Hamilton.

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The 71-year-old takes over from the sacked Kristian Woolf. Source: 1 NEWS