Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has praised his players for putting international rugby league ahead of their own back pocket to get next month's Test against Tonga across the line.
The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) announced today the historic Test will be played at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium on October 20, a week after the world champion Australians face the Kiwis at the same venue.
It will be the first time Australia have played fourth-ranked Tonga, who were a force at last year's World Cup.
The prohibitive cost of stadium hire in Australia led to months of negotiation between the NRL, NZRL and the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).
The RLPA had agreed it's players will accept reduced match payments to help the NRL fund the fixture.
According to NRL.com, the agreed figure is $5000 (NZD $5,500), down from $20,000 (NZD $22,000).
Meninga said the RLPA and the players should be lauded for the concession.
"They know how important this game is for the international game and have put the dollars on hold to play this game," he said.
"I'm proud of the decision the players made.
"Putting on the green and gold jersey is a privilege and they way they think about the jersey now is fantastic."
Meninga said the Test was an excellent initiative on the back of Tonga's storming World Cup run, when they were beaten in a semi-final thriller against England at Mt Smart Stadium.
Boasting NRL stars such as Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and David Fusitu'a, Mate Ma'a will be a significant threat, Meninga said.
"We all understood how well the Tongans did last year, we want to keep the momentum going off the back of that but also the Pacific Islands has got some great strength," he said.
"We just want to broaden the reach of the international game.
"The more games we play internationally, obviously the more opportunities and pathways for kids."
It was also announced Tonga will face New Zealand next year in June, with a date and venue still to be finalised.
Tonga coach Kristian Woolf was delighted his team's stunning run to the World Cup semi-finals has been acknowledged.
"We have been very vocal about wanting to play other tier-one countries. It's a wonderful opportunity," he said.
The Kiwis-Tonga Test will replace the scheduled fixture between New Zealand and England in Denver.
The NZRL has gone cold on the Denver concept, having not yet received payments from the match promoters after this year's inaugural Test at Mile High Stadium.