Watch: So how about a Tongan team in the NRL? Andrew Fifita says 'it'd be massive'

Tongan rugby league superstar Andrew Fifita would welcome the chance to see a Pacific Island team in the NRL competition, but says they need more infrastructure around the game in the islands to make it happen.

Mate Ma'a Tonga shocked the rugby league world with a 28-22 win over New Zealand in Hamilton. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS reporter Matt Manukia asked the forward what he thought about having a Pacific Island team in the NRL during an interview at Tonga's training session in Christchurch today.

"To be honest it'd be massive, it'd be huge, but I think you need to start with the grassroots over there first, and getting the quality of footy from the little islands," Fifita said.

Everyone wanted a piece of the superstar forward as the team arrived in the Garden City. Source: 1 NEWS

Fifita was more confident about a Pacific Island team joining the Four Nations competition sometime in the near future.

Tonga beat the Kiwis 28-22 in their RLWC match in Hamilton. Source: 1 NEWS

"We have been discussing a Pacific Islander all-star team for the Four Nations so they could have England New Zealand Australia and why not a Pacific Island team?" Fifita said.

The big forward also talked about his connection with Christchurch and the phenomenal time he has had catching up with family there.

Tonga take on Lebanon in a Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final at Christchurch Stadium, Saturday, 5pm.

Fifita seemed confident about a Pacific Island all-star team joining the Four Nations competition. Source: 1 NEWS



Person in critical condition after being hit by bus in Christchurch

One person’s been hospitalised in a critical condition after being hit by a bus in Christchurch this morning.

Emergency services were called to Main North Road in Redwood around 8am.

A police spokesperson says the road has been closed and motorists are being asked to follow the direction of emergency services.

A bus driver at the wheel.

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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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Six injured, four seriously, as car and campervan collide on SH1 north of Timaru

St John Ambulance have confirmed six people have been injured as a result of a two-vehicle crash on State Highway One at Orari north of Timaru. 

Emergency services were called to the scene on the stretch of road known as the Canterbury Pacific Highway at 3.40pm.

Police say the crash was reported to be between a car and a campervan.

St John Ambulance spokesperson Ngaire Jones says four people have suffered serious injuries with two further people suffering moderate injuries. 

Two of the seriously injured patients have been driven by ambulance to Timaru Hospital.  

The other two seriously injured patients were airlifted to Christchurch and Dunedin respectively along with the remaining two patients.      

The road was closed with diversions in place while emergency services attended.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS