Exclusive: Eden Park stake claim to host Kiwis Test against Tonga for '20,000 extra Aucklanders'

Mate Ma'a Tonga's red army has been given the green light to celebrate once again with the dream World Cup final they were denied last year now confirmed to take place at Mt Smart.

But if enough supporters come out for the Test between Mate Ma'a Tonga and the Kangaroos next month, it could lead to an even bigger venue.

1 NEWS can reveal NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has already met with Eden Park officials about potentially hosting the Kiwis and Tonga next year while the NZRL will ultimately make the decision on where the Test will be held.

Hamilton is also understood to be in the running to host the fixture.

Vatuvei said the decision from both stars to stick with Tonga after the RLWC helped generate fans' interest. Source: 1 NEWS

"I watch a lot of footy, from Origins and Grand Finals but that was the best rugby league experience I had last year in 2017," he told 1 NEWS.

"To grow the sport we have to make sure those emerging nations have more opportunities to play the tier one nations so it's the start of what I think will be a much bigger calendar.

"We might have to see if we can gravitate [fans] to a bigger stage so fingers crossed."

The Tongan winger said the Mate Ma'a Tonga fans made the Rugby League World Cup in 2017 a success. Source: 1 NEWS

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said shifting the Test to stadium could benefit everyone involved.

"Obviously, Eden Park's capacity of 48,000 provides 20,000 extra Aucklanders the opportunity to experience league at New Zealand's national stadium."

The Kangaroos will face Tonga on October 20 at Mt Smart Stadium, a week after playing a Test at the same venue against New Zealand.

It will be the first time the world champions have played fourth-ranked Tonga, who were a force at last year's World Cup.

It will also be the Kangaroos' first non-tournament Test on neutral soil since they played the Kiwis in Leigh, England in 1954.


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