Powerful Mate Ma'a Tonga outclass gutsy Toa Samoa in huge Pacific Test clash in Sydney

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of the Pacific Test between Mate Ma'a Tonga and Toa Samoa from Cambelltown Stadium, Sydney.

FULLTIME - TONGA 38 SAMOA 22

Tonga were simply too big and too strong for Toa Samoa. The men and blue showed great pride in a late comeback in the second spell but the damage was all done in the first half by the Mate Ma'a Tonga star forwards.

Tonga's Jason Taumalolo. Tonga v Samoa, Rugby League World Cup, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand. Saturday, 4 November, 2017. Copyright photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz
Tonga's Jason Taumalolo in action against Toa Samoa at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand. Source: Photosport

78 mins - TONGA 38 SAMOA 22

Anthony Milford almost gets trapped inside his own in-goal but does well to get out.

72 mins - TONGA 38 SAMOA 22

TWO! Sio Siua Taukeiaho slots his penalty kick at goal after a surging run and attack from Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo.

69 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 22

NO TRY! Pita Godinet tries to sell a dummy on the last but Tonga's Joe Ofahengaue comes up with the try-saving tackle for Mate Ma'a Tonga. Momentum has shifted big time in favour of Toa Samoa. But you just sense that Toa Samoa may have left their late surge of attack a bit too late.

67 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 22

GOAL-LINE DROPOUT! Anthony Milford puts in a pin-point grubber to earn his side another set.

64 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 22

TRY! Joey Leilua makes a powerful run down the left edge and Toa Samoa opt ot run it on the last. Tim Lafai manages to keep his hand free and he offloads the ball to Jorge Taufua who dots down over the left flank. Toa Samoa hit back! There is still 15 minutes to go in the match.

Mason Lino misses his attempt at goal from the sideline.

63 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 18

INJURY! Manu Ma'u cops a knee to the head after a charging run from James Gavet. Ma'u goes to the sidelines for an HIA test.

55 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 18

TRY! Toa Samoa show great fight and their No. 6 Tyrone May steps and weaves his way though the Tongan defence and grounds the ball over the try-line with two Tongan defenders on him.

Mason Lino lands his kick from out wide.

52 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 12

TRY! Tim Lafai shows some great footwork at the line and beats four Tongan defenders to score the Samoans second try of the match. 

Mason Lino sends the ball through the uprights and gives the Samoan fans something to cheer about.

43 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 6

TRY! After an initial big hit from Samoa on Peni Terepo, reserve forward Junior Tatola powers over to score with an exceptional strong run. Tatola is extremely happy about that four-pointer as he celebrates with his team after saluting the crowd.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho slots his conversion attempt at goal through the uprights.

40 mins - TONGA 30 SAMOA 6

And we are back underway with Samoa kicking off to Mate Ma'a Tonga.

HALFTIME - TONGA 30 SAMOA 6

Samoa have one last throw of the dice before the break but Mason Lino has overcooked his chip kick for his winger Jorge Taufua. Mate Ma'a Tonga have been simply sublime in the first spell with Toa Samoa having to defend for most of the first half.

40 mins: TONGA 30 SAMOA 6

NO TRY! Daniel Tupou knocks the ball on after a great kick from Mason Lino to put Toa Samoa in excellent try scoring opportunity. Anthony Milford regathers the ball but he is held up over the try-line. Samoa has 18 seconds to muster something up here in the first half. 

37 mins: TONGA 30 SAMOA 6

TURNOVER! Joey Leilua tries to set up something for his winger Christian Chrichton down the right edge but he offload the ball to noone. Unfortunate for Samoa after they received another set after Tonga knocked the ball on.

36 mins: TONGA 30 SAMOA 6

GOAL-LINE DROPOUT! A Samoans get a much needed set after a clever grubber kick from Pita Godinet which sits up in the Tongan in-goal. Manu Ma'u is forced to play at it and he can't get out.

32 mins: TONGA 30 SAMOA 6

TRY! Daniel Tupou dives over to score down the left edge. Some great passing here from Tonga - Will Hopoate shows silky skills to catch the ball and shift it quickly to his winger Hopoate. Momentum all with Tonga at the moment.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho hit the right post after a conversion attempt from the sideline.

30 mins: TONGA 26 SAMOA 6

TRY! Will Hopoate picks up a loose ball and carries with him three Samoan defenders with him over the try-line. It's all one way traffic so far with the Samoans struggling to contain a dominant Mate Ma'a Tonga forward pack.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho lands his kick from easy range.

29 mins: TONGA 20 SAMOA 6

PENALTY! After a good positive from Toa Samoa they are penalised after the officials rule Joey Leilua stripped the ball off Tongan winger Daniel Tupou in a two man tackle. Replays show that it was a loose carry from Tupou.

24 mins: TONGA 20 SAMOA 6

TRY! The Tongans are all over Toa Samoa, Sione Katoa scoots down to the blindside and passes the ball to Konrad Hurrell. Hurrell throws an offload which hits the ground and Robert Jennings gets a boot to it and grounds the ball over the right edge. 

Sio Siua Taukeiaho misses his conversion attempt from the sideline.

19 mins: TONGA 16 SAMOA 6

PENALTY! Anthony Milford earns his side a much needed penalty and Samoa have the ball on the halfway line. Jason Taumalolo showcases his kicking game, showing some shape in his grubber kick which sits up just outside the Toa Samoa in-goal. 

15 mins: TONGA 16 SAMOA 6

TRY! Konrad Hurrell crashes over down the right edge after the Tongan forwards are sucking in the Toa Samoa defenders. Tui Lolohea recognises the space down the right side and shifts it to his centre Hurrell.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho misses his kick from the sideline.

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

11 mins: TONGA 12 SAMOA 6

TRY! Ata Hingano crosses over to score for Tonga after an excellent run from Jason Taumalolo which created the space for Will Hopoate and Ata Hingano to punch onto and score Mate Ma'a Tonga's second try.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho is perfect with the boot.

9 mins: TONGA 6 SAMOA 6

TRY! Siliva Havili makes a up for a missed tackle which led up to Samoa's try. He dummies and goes and he is in for Mate Ma'a Tonga's first try. The Tongan forward pack causing all sorts of trouble for Toa Samoa.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho lands his kick at goal from out wide to level the scores at 6-6.

6 mins: TONGA 0 SAMOA 6

PENALTY! Daniel Tupou makes a great break down the left edge and the Samoans give away a cheap penalty. The Tongans opt for a quick tap and go. 

2 mins: TONGA 0 SAMOA 6

TRY! James Gavet finds a hole in the Tongan defence and he muscles his way over to score, he gets through a poor tackle attempt from Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Siliva Havili.

Mason Lino makes no mistake with his shot at goal.

1 min: TONGA 0 SAMOA 0

PENALTY! Konrad Hurrell is penalised for a high shot on James Gavet. There is some big shots coming in from the Tongan players on Samoa.

TONGA 0 SAMOA 0

KICK-OFF!

Tui Lolohea gets things started with a big kick off to Samoa.

PRE MATCH

After both these sides impressed at last year's Rugby League World Cup, traditional rivals Tonga and Samoa will again do battle in this year's Pacific Test.

Both sides have named teams littered with top NRL talent, with the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita for Tonga, and Anthony Milford and Sam Kasiano for Samoa among those to choose country over cash to represent the nation of their heritage.

Tonight's encounter will be thrilling even before the kick-off, with the two sides to pit their respective war dances against one another, with Tonga's Sipi Tau on show against the Samoan Siva Tau.

TEAMS:

Mate Ma'a Tonga: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Michael Jennings 5. Robert Jennings 6. Tuimoala Lolehea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Addin Fonua-Blake 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Peni Terepo 17. Junior Tatola 18. Moeaki Fotuaika

Toa Samoa: 1. Anthony Milford, 2. Christian Chrichton, 3. Joey Leilua, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Jorge Taufua, 6. Tyrone May, 7. Mason Lino, 8. James Gavet, 9. Pita Godinet, 10. Sam Kasiano, 11. Michael Chee Kam, 12. Isaiah Papali'i, 13. Bunty Afoa.

Interchange: 14. Dunamis Lui, 15. Josh Aloiai, 16. Ligi Sao, 17. Joseph Paulo, 18. Luciano Leilua.

1 min: TONGA 0 SAMOA 0
30 mins: TONGA 26 SAMOA 6
37 mins: TONGA 30 SAMOA 6
43 mins - TONGA 30 SAMOA 6
69 mins - TONGA 36 SAMOA 22

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'I just want to protect my family' - Sam Burgess hopeful NRL finalises investigation into sexting scandal soon

An emotional Sam Burgess thanked his wife, family and club for their support during the NRL's investigation into a sexting scandal, suggesting the truth will come out before South Sydney's preliminary final on Saturday.

Burgess addressed reporters on Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time about allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of his social media accounts earlier this year.

The Englishman refused to discuss specifics, reiterating throughout the 12-minute press conference he is "happy for the truth to come out" but unable to comment publicly because the league's integrity unit is still probing the matter.

Burgess expects the NRL will finalise its investigation within 24-48 hours.

The 29-year-old possess some of the broadest shoulders in the league but it was clear on Tuesday the allegations, made public on the eve of the Rabbitohs' semi- final against St George Illawarra, have taken some toll.

Burgess struggled to speak at the start of Tuesday's interview then became deeply emotional when discussing his heavily-pregnant wife Phoebe.

"I just want to protect my family in this whole thing," Burgess said.

"I just want them to be safe and happy and with my current situation at home (photographers and TV cameras camped outside), there's no chance of that.

"I'm not angry. What hurts me the most is seeing my wife upset about what's out there.

"I've been in situations before, dealt with much harder things in my life ... and football has always been great for me.

"My poor family, they don't have the distraction I do. I will be fine come game time."

The league is in the final stages of its investigation.

Burgess could yet be suspended but Souths' talismanic forward, who won the Clive Churchill medal in their 2014 grand-final victory, is very much preparing to play the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

"There's a lot of important things going on at the moment. I've got some serious football games in front of me, this process we're going through," he said.

"It's been a tough process to go through ... as someone said earlier, a bit of a circus.

"Fortunately I've got a strong wife.

"My teammates have been fantastic. We all have challenges at times. We get through them, we grow. It's brought us together.

"I'm grateful that two of my brothers are in the team ... I've got plenty of support around me."

Asked about the timing of the story about the incident in May, Burgess replied "you can make your own assumptions".

Burgess insisted he wasn't "running away and hiding from what's out there" but had to respect the integrity unit's process.

"I'm not going to put myself into a position that's going to get me into trouble," he said.


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Young NRL star Nathan Cleary to sign big contract extension to stay with Panthers - report

NRL star Nathan Cleary is reportedly poised to sign a contract extension to stay with Penrith until at least the end of the 2023 season.

Clearly, who has previously said he would wait until November 1 to engage in contract discussions, will pen a new deal with the club in next 48 hours, reported NRL.com.

The four-year extension will reportedly make him the Panthers' highest paid player, and bump up his salary for the final season of his existing contract.

Panthers supremo Phil Gould hinted on Monday night that the 20-year-old halfback intended to commit his long-term future to the club sooner rather than later.

"It'll get done shortly," he told Nine's 100% Footy.

Off contract at the end of next season, Cleary has seemingly turned his back on fielding offers from rival NRL clubs who were unable to come negotiating table before November.

The NSW State of Origin series winner has spoken openly about his career ambition to one day play under his father, Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.

The Panthers' season, sidetracked by the sacking of coach Anthony Griffin just four weeks out from the finals, came to an end with a one-point loss to Cronulla on Friday.

Cleary could have levelled the semi-final with a late field goal but his attempt sailed wide.

Nathan Cleary
Nathan Cleary Source: Getty


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Watch: Sam Burgess speaks about Rabbitohs' Auckland sexting scandal - 'I'm happy for the truth to come out'

South Sydney superstar Sam Burgess hopes the NRL's integrity unit will finalise its investigation into the sexting scandal, which has engulfed the club, within the next two days.

Burgess addressed reporters today, saying he's keen for the "truth to come out" about allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of his social media accounts, after a match earlier this season.

"While the investigation is going on we've been told to publicly make no comment ... I'm following the process," Burgess said before Saturday's preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters.

"I'm not going into the detail of anything.

"I'm happy for the truth to come out.

"That's going to be my answer to the majority of your questions.

"Hopefully within 24 hours, 48 hours I think it should be resolved."

The saga has overshadowed the Rabbitohs' preparations for their grand final qualifier against their traditional rivals at Allianz Stadium.

Burgess thanked his friends and family for their recent support during a "tricky few days".

"It's been a tough process to go through, (for) the family together, but fortunately I've got a strong wife," he said.

"A wife who loves me. I've got great family, great friends, great support around me.

"You do feel it but I've had certain experiences in my life before, had serious emotions I've had to deal with, and football has always been great for me."


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Broncos star treating match against Warriors as Kiwi Ferns trial - 'Everyone is in the running to get a black jersey'

They call her The Jukebox because when damaging Brisbane back-rower Teuila Fotu- Moala takes the field, the hits keep coming.

And the New Zealand star has vowed to be on song in Friday's NRL Women's Premiership final round clash with the Warriors in Melbourne, likening it to a Kiwi Ferns trial.

Fotu-Moala - player of the 2017 Women's World Cup - has been the key to a perfect season start for Brisbane who can seal a grand-final berth with a third straight victory.

But Fotu-Moala is also eyeing off October's Auckland Test against the Jillaroos and hopes to stake a claim by overcoming Warriors back-rower Onjeurlina Leiataua.

"It's almost like a Kiwi Ferns trial because everyone is pretty much in the running to get into that black jersey at the end of the season," she said of the October 13 Test.

"The biggest match-up for me would be Onjeurlina.

"She's explosive, strong, powerful and eats a lot of metres. She's one to watch out for."

Fotu-Moala is good mates with Leiataua and knows the bulk of the Warriors squad after they played together in the Auckland competition.

That won't earn them any favours on Friday at AAMI Park in the curtain raiser for the Melbourne-Cronulla NRL preliminary final.

"When we saw that we were playing the Warriors I knew I had to get more aggressive this week," Fotu-Moala said.

"I need to do what I can to match them because they will be coming for us, I know that.

"Maybe some of us will be targets for them.

"It's mixed feelings (playing mates). I have a soft spot for my friends - off the field, not on the field."

Teuila Fotu-Moala on attack. Kiwi Ferns v England, Women’s Rugby League World Cup Semi Final at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney, Australia on 26 November 2017. Copyright Image: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Teuila Fotu-Moala on attack for the Kiwi Ferns against England. Source: Photosport


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