NZ Rugby League shut down chance of Tonga-Kangaroos Test in Auckland

New Zealand Rugby League officials have blocked any plans of a Tonga-Kangaroos Test in Auckland, seemingly worried that the clash would overshadow the Kiwis.

With Mate Ma'a Tonga's rise at last year's World Cup, calls for the Pacific powerhouse to face the reigning world champions have only grown louder, with either Auckland or New York mooted as a possible venue.

However, with the Kiwis to host Australia on October 13 at Mt Smart Stadium, NZRL boss Greg Peters said that any possible clash between Tonga and the Kangaroos in Auckland was unfeasible.

"We have been talking with the Australian Rugby League Commission and they're looking at a number of options for that game," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"One of them was in Auckland, but we have a test match against Australia the weekend before, and we want to give prominence to that in our market.

"It's the first time we've played Australia in New Zealand for four years. Other than the World Cup, we've had precious little content in our own market.

"We want to rebuild the Kiwis jersey and get back on side with our fans, and this is a great opportunity for us to do that against Australia.

"It's a smaller market – we're a small sports market, let alone rugby league market in New Zealand."

An announcement over the logistics of any Kangaroos-Tonga clash is expected in the next 48 hours.

Jason Taumalolo leads the Tongan haka.
England v Tonga, Semi-Final, Rugby League World Cup 2017. RLWC2017. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland New Zealand. Saturday 25 November 2017 © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Jason Taumalolo has committed to Mate Ma'a Tonga. Source: Photosport


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Watch: Jason Taumalolo, Mate Ma'a Tonga lose it as Andrew Fifita gets pranked

Team spirit was in plentiful supply as Mate Ma'a Tonga arrived in Auckland last night, as Andrew Fifita found himself on the receiving end of a classic childhood prank.

As Tonga arrived ahead of next week's clash with the Kangaroos in Auckland, swarms of fans turned out to welcome their side at a special event in Manukau.

Star forwards Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita spoke to media, however, Tevita Pangai Jr managed to leave Fifita's face as red as Tonga's shirt - pulling his pants down in front of the camera.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"That's just how we are," Pangai Jr said.

"We like to have fun, mock each other - it's good."

Tevita Pangai made sure team spirit was high as Tonga arrived in Auckland yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS


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'Everyone makes a mistake' - Kiwis coach embracing Jesse Bromwich's Test return

New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has revealed former captain Jesse Bromwich is a part of the Test nation's leadership group to face Australia.

Bromwich and Kevin Proctor will make their anticipated return to the Kiwis fold on Saturday, almost 18 months after being axed for their role in a cocaine bust.

The pair were caught allegedly snorting cocaine hours after a mid-year Test against the Kangaroos, resulting in their dumping from the World Cup last year.

The scandal cost Bromwich the Kiwis' captaincy, however Maguire this week confirmed the Melbourne prop has been reinstated as a leader in the team.

"He's a part of the leadership group," Maguire told reporters.

"But at the moment he's very much about making sure he does what he needs to to get in the team and perform for the team."

With 41 Tests between them, Bromwich and Proctor will add some sorely needed experience to a youthful line-up at Mt Smart Stadium.

Joseph Manu and Brandon Smith are making their international debuts, while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been crowned captain at the tender age of 23.

It comes off the back of the unavailability of stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke, as well as the international retirements of a number of veteran players.

Maguire was reluctant to comment further on Bromwich and Proctor's return, but conceded the duo have been presented with a shot at redemption.

"I'm really hoping we can put a stop to all the chat about where they're at. Since I've started the role it's been about Kevvy and Jesse," Maguire said.

"I know talking to them and spending some time with both of those boys, they're really looking forward to being able to put that on the park and show everyone why they have that passion around that jersey.

"Everyone makes a mistake in their life but it's now their opportunity to turn that around. It all starts on Saturday."

Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor have both been recalled to the Kiwis' squad. Source: 1 NEWS


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'We'll have our hands full' – Tonga star Jason Taumalolo says Kangaroos new looked team still a huge threat

Mate Ma'a Tonga star Jason Taumalolo is under no illusion that the Kangaroos will pose threats right across the park come next Saturday in their historic Test in Auckland.

With Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater retired from international football Taumalolo believes the new looked Australian team will be a tough challenge.

"I think regardless they'll always going to be a strong team," said Taumalolo.

"The team that they have picked for this year’s game is no different.

"They might have lost some experience but with that they have got a lot of youth and a lot of talented players."

The Kangaroos have plenty of firepower with James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Tjbojevic, Luke Keary and Damien Cook named to start against the Kiwis this Saturday.

"We'll have our hands full come Saturday."

Taumalolo said without Australia's usual veterans they will have a lot of firepower with their young stars. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: Mate Ma'a Tonga stars welcomed with thousands of fans singing beautiful hymn

Thousands of diehard Mate Ma'a Tonga fans turned up to greet their rugby league heroes at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau on Wednesday night, despite the team's Sydney flight being delayed for several hours.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/sport/league/watch-konrad-hurrell-swan-dive-during-dance-celebrations-makes-mate-maa-tonga-fans-go-berserk

The Tongan league stars were welcomed by a beautiful hymn sung by their fans with Tuimoala Lolohea and a few of his teammates joining in too.

Tonga are set to face off against the Kangaroos next Saturday in a historical Test at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.

The Kangaroos first meet the Kiwis this Saturday in a triple-header at Mount Smart.

Despite their flight being delayed a few hours from Sydney the Tongan fans showed their support at Vodafone Events centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS


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