Tonga's star winger David Fusitu'a goes down with ankle injury during RLWC training

In-form Tonga winger David Fusitu'a could be in doubt for Tonga’s Rugby League World Cup semi-final against England after going down in training today in Auckland.

Fusitu'a suffered an injury during his side’s training, rolling his ankle.

Tonga are set to face England on Saturday at Mount Smart Stadium, with the winner securing a World Cup final berth in Brisbane next week.

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The two league stars have hit it off since being in camp for the RLWC. Source: 1 NEWS

The Mate Ma'a Tonga centre is looking in top shape for this weekend’s clash with England. Source: 1 NEWS

Mate Ma'a Tonga will face England at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday for a spot in the World Cup final. Source: 1 NEWS

Mate Ma'a Tonga mingled with fans this afternoon as they prepare for their RLWC semi-final against England. Source: 1 NEWS

Fusitu'a could be in doubt for Tonga's RLWC semi-final against England on Saturday in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS


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Humble Kiwis coach plays down win over Aussies - 'We haven't done anything yet'

Michael Maguire has already moved on from Saturday's stunning win over the Kangaroos, turning his attention to the Kiwis' upcoming three-Test series against England.

Maguire earned his first win as the new Kiwis coach after his side beat the world champions 26-24 at Mt Smart Stadium, but he told media today he wants more.

"Obviously it was a good performance but we haven't done anything yet," he said.

"Going to England is a big task. It's a three-Test series and one that we want to improve on from Saturday night."

The Kiwis leave New Zealand this afternoon and will stay in Dubai for a couple of days to train before headed to England for the first Test in Hull on October 28.

"There’s a lot to work on. There was a lot of times there that we put ourselves under a fair bit of pressure.

“On the flip side of that, we applied a lot of pressure so it’s learning about our game and we’ve got to build on the way we want to play and I thought the boys went about what we spoke about last week and they took that into the game so it’s about doing that over and over now and building a consistent group of men.”

Maguire said he won’t be afraid to mix up the combinations either, despite the result.

“I just look at performance. How they go about their training – what they do away from the field is a big part of how I look at what I want on the field.

“The boys are building what we’re about and they know what’s expected so if we keep doing that, we’ll be moving forward as a very strong team.”

Michael Maguire said it's more important to build consistency in the squad than a one-off 26-24 win. Source: 1 NEWS


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Kangaroos hooker puts Mate Ma'a Tonga on notice after loss to Kiwis - 'we expect almost perfection'

A crestfallen Damien Cook says he felt like he let down the green and gold jersey after Australia were given a reality check by New Zealand in Saturday's boilover Test rugby league loss.

The South Sydney rake was handed arguably the toughest assignment in rugby league after being anointed Cameron Smith's successor as the Kangaroos' No.9.

It was just the Kangaroos' second Test without Cameron Smith since 2006 - and the first since their 2009 Four Nations clash with France.

One of four debutants in the new-look Kangaroos, Cook was never given a chance to weave his magic in the 26-24 loss to the Kiwis in Auckland after his side committed a mountain of simple errors in an un-Australian-like performance.

Michael Maguire's side celebrated in style after last night's 26-24 win. Source: Facebook/Richard Becht

Cook was taken off by coach Mal Meninga after 62 minutes of being successfully targeted by the Kiwis forwards where he was forced to make 42 tackles.

Cook said he was mindful of the jersey's rich history and felt like he hadn't lived up to its standards.

"From my point you almost feel like you've left the past players down," Cook said.

"Australia being so dominant for so long and to lose, it felt like we might have let them down a little bit.

Mate Ma’a Tonga are a massive hit in New Zealand, but need time and space to prepare for a clash with the world champions. Source: 1 NEWS

"But we still played some good footy at times, showed some good character."

The world champions will now be desperate to turn it around against rising Tonga at Mt Smart on Saturday.

Team spirit in the Tongan camp is sky high, as the team welcomes their new assistant coach into the fold. Source: 1 NEWS

Meninga says he will resist any calls to ring in changes, promising to stick solid with the same 17 that lost to New Zealand.

"It was always going to be a bit clunky at times," Cook said.

"But we didn't help ourselves by not holding the ball at times. We just need to be disciplined and give ourselves the best chance."

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

Debutant five-eighth Luke Keary will need to pass concussion protocols during the week but is expected to take his place against Tonga.

Cook insisted it wouldn't take much for Meninga's men to turn it around but warned they once again risked being upstaged if they handed over cheap ball to the Mate Ma'a and their massive forward pack.

"It is the Australian team, we expect almost perfection," Cook said.

"Moving forward to the Tongan game we've got to make sure we complete nice and high.

"That's what we'll learn. Just hold the ball, go set for set."

Australian captain Boyd Cordner looks shell shocked.
New Zealand Kiwis v Australia Kangaroos. Trans-Tasman Triple Header Rugby League Showdown. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. New Zealand. Saturday 13 October 2018 © Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
The Kangaroos were humbled by the Kiwis at Mt Smart Stadium, where they will face Mate Ma'a Tonga this week. Source: Photosport


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Kiwi Joseph Manu will be best centre in the world, says his vanquished Kangaroos opposite Latrell Mitchell

Latrell Mitchell has declared Joseph Manu is destined to become the best centre in the rugby league world.

Mitchell is unequivocal in his praise of his Sydney Roosters teammate after being upstaged in Australia's shock Test loss to New Zealand on Saturday.

A rampaging Manu showcased his Sonny Bill Williams-like qualities, including a powerful fend and a skilful late offload in traffic to wreak havoc on the visitors in Auckland.

He sent Mitchell reeling out of a tackle after palming him off close to the line before stepping over him to score.

"He's got a strong fend. It caught me by surprise," Mitchell said.

"I'm normally the one doing it. I just got whacked with it."

Michael Maguire's side celebrated in style after last night's 26-24 win. Source: Facebook/Richard Becht

The Tokoroa native has come of age during the past few months and was one of the Roosters' best during the finals and their grand final win.

Just over a year ago, he was dropped to reserve grade for the Roosters' finals campaign but has emerged as a star in his own right in 2018.

He's earned a reputation as having one of the best late offloads in the game and was at it again on Saturday as he sent Jordan Rapana over in a play that was shades of his memorable grand final try-assist for Blake Ferguson.

"I'm disappointed in myself, letting him play so well," Mitchell said.

"I don't doubt he's going to be the best centre in the world one day. It could even be next year.

"He just turns it on. It just depends how hard he's willing to work. I'm willing to help him out and sharpen him up."

Manu was supported by a large contingent of family who made the three-hour drive to Auckland from Tokoroa and was unlucky not to be awarded man of the match honours ahead of Shaun Johnson.

Mitchell and Manu have played on the opposite side of the field since they were teenagers coming through the Roosters' grades.

However, Saturday was the first time they had faced off against each other and the experience left Mitchell in awe.

Mitchell has received a stream of accolades but is adamant Manu is better.

"I genuinely believe he can be the best centre in the game," Mitchell said.

"I get the raps and it's not for me to say.

"The last two years I've seen him grow as a player. He's just an unbelievable talent. I wish I could do the things he does."

Joseph Manu in action. Rugby League International between the Kiwis and Australia at Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday 13th October, 2018.
Photo: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
Joseph Manu created havoc in the Kiwis win. Source: Photosport


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'I couldn't hold myself back' – Kiwis rookie reflects on emotional debut

New Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith has opened up about his debut heroics, making his first Test appearance in last night's 26-24 win over the Kangaroos at Mt Smart Stadium.

Smith, 22, was one of several debutants in Michael Maguire's side, proving his worth in the number nine jersey with a try, while also having another ruled out by the bunker.

Speaking to 1 NEWS this afternoon, the youngster revealed he was nearly overwhelmed by his emotions, representing his country for the very first time in front of his family and friends, who had made the trip from Waiheke Island.

"I couldn't hold myself back when I saw my family in the crowd," he said.

"It was an unreal thing for me, I've never been through such an emotional thing in my life. 

"When I was running out of the tunnel I heard all the Waiheke boys yelling 'ram hammer' (the chant of the Waiheke Rams side)

"Running out, it sent shivers down my spine, I just wish I could relive it again."

Hooker Brandon Smith shone in last night's 26-24 win over Australia. Source: 1 NEWS


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