Watch: 'This is how we are!' – Konrad Hurrell relishing returning to Tongan roots as he dances in the street and visits old school

Konrad Hurrell is rediscovering his roots alongside his Rugby League World Cup teammates in their trip home to Tonga ahead of next month's tournament - and he's loving every second of it.

Hurrell and the Tongan rugby league team have touched down in Nuku'alofa to train and have already immersed themselves in the culture.

Players were taken to a nearby local school, one Hurrell attended growing up, on the back of utes where they were welcomed by adoring fans.

The Titans centre has been in Tonga for two weeks, but was at the airport to welcome his teammates. Source: 1 NEWS

The whole experience was a sensation for Hurrell.

"Everything is still the same!" Hurrell said of his old school.

"This is where we grew up, this is how we are!"

Ata Hingano, Tui Lolohea and Sione Katoa spoke passionately about what returning to the island means to them and their family. Source: 1 NEWS

Hurrell said returning to Tonga wasn't just important for the players.

"When I was their age, I always wanted to be [a sport star].

"For them to see us come here, I guess it's a big opportunity for them to see themselves in that way as well - for us to come back here is a big thing."

Tonga's first World Cup match is against Scotland on October 29 in Cairns.

The NRL star arrived in the Tonga today as his side prepares for the Rugby League World Cup. Source: 1 NEWS

The former boxer and NRL player has joined the team in Tonga with his son Will named to captain the side. Source: 1 NEWS

Half of the Tongan squad arrived in Tonga today with Jason Taumalolo and rest set to arrive tomorrow Source: 1 NEWS

More coverage from Tonga

The NRL star visited his old school in Nuku’alofa with his World Cup teammates. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: Roosters mascot caught patting Cooper Cronk's injured shoulder

Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk's race to recover from an injured shoulder in time for next week's NRL Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm wasn't helped, after a mishap from his team's mascot.

Cronk, 34, injured his shoulder in the first half of his side's win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, awaiting scans to prove his fitness for next week's final.

After the final whistle of last night's win, Roosters mascot Rocky was snapped sneaking up behind Cronk, before giving him a congratulatory pat.

The Roosters have said that they are confident Cronk will recover in time to take the field next week.

The halfback is in doubt for next week's Grand Final. Source: Nine


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Storm teammates plead to let Billy Slater play NRL Grand Final

Billy Slater's Melbourne teammates remain hopeful they will get the chance to try and send the champion fullback out with a NRL grand final victory.

Slater's plans for the perfect end to his glittering 16-year career rest on the outcome of a judiciary hearing early this week after his shoulder charge from the win over Cronulla on Friday night.

The 35-year-old Slater was charged with a grade-one offence for his hit on Sosaia Feki after he came across in cover to save a try and put the Sharks winger into touch.

Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr said it would be a "massive blow" to lose Slater for the title decider and defended his teammate's actions.

"What's he meant to do? He's just gone in for a tackle," Addo-Carr told AAP.

"I don't reckon it's a shoulder charge or anything, he just went in for the tackle and did his best to stop the try."

Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster said Slater shouldn't be given special treatment because of his status as one of the game's greats, but didn't believe the hit deserved anything more than a penalty.

"There was no malice - it's just Bill being a competitor and wanting to do the best for his team and stop the try and that was a tackle he needed to make," Munster said.

"It would be really disappointing if he doesn't get to play in his last game but there's rules with that kind of stuff and no one is bigger than the game.

"I would love to see Bill go out a winner because he's a champion bloke and a champion player."

Slater turned in a man of the match performance in the 22-6 win, scoring two first half tries to set up the victory.

Munster questioned why his teammate was retiring when he was still at the top of his game and said he'd tried to talk him into another season.

"I even asked him the other day, 'Are you sure it's the right decision, you're playing some really good football and you don't look like you're slowing down?' but he's said 'Nah mate it's time to hang them up'," Munster said.

"I told him if he ever wanted to come out of retirement we'd have him back."

The retiring Storm star could face suspension for this hit on Sosaia Feki. Source: SKY


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Roosters confident Cooper Cronk will be fit for NRL Grand Final

The Sydney Roosters expect Cooper Cronk to be fit for the NRL grand final as he races the clock for his date with destiny against former club Melbourne.

Cronk underwent scans last night after injuring his shoulder in the Roosters' gritty 12-4 preliminary final victory over South Sydney.

The 34-year-old maestro appeared at long odds to be fit for next Sunday's season decider at ANZ Stadium after he spent the entire second half with his left arm hanging by his side.

He copped a shot from Sam Burgess during the first-half before being ironed out by opposite No.7 Adam Reynolds as he took a field goal attempt on the halftime siren.

Cronk looked like a sitting duck in defence as he struggled to raise his arms to tackle.

At one point he was thrown the ball to take a kick for touch and could be seen telling his teammates: "I can't".

However Robinson insisted he would be right as he attempts to play in his third straight grand final and win back-to-back titles.

"I know you want information straight away but he'll go and get scans," Robinson said.

"I'd say he'd be right to play next week though.

"It wasn't even discussed (taking him from the field). To be honest I didn't even ask how he was.

"Cooper knows how he is. He needed to get work done (from the medical staff) there at halftime and he was always going to go back out there. But it looked pretty sore."

Souths enforcer Sam Burgess ran at Cronk on a couple of occasions while Junior Tatola whacked him with a late shot, for which the Rabbitohs were penalised.

But other than that Souths failed to exploit Cronk's obvious problems.

Robinson praised Cronk's teammates for getting around him and acting as a bodyguard.

"You saw (Mitchell) Aubusson and the work that he did really tirelessly in and around Cooper," Robinson said.

"And also Joey Manu, he made some big efforts in and around Cooper. They're a pretty tight bunch and you could see their work ethic."

Cronk was forced to make just 11 tackles - and five in the second-half.

South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold bristled at the suggestion his side had erred in not targeting Cronk more.

"We didn't look to chase him, we looked to put him under pressure when he kicked the footy," Seibold said.

"That didn't have any impact on the game.

"You can spend your life targeting Cooper. I don't understand. He was still making his tackles."

Cooper Cronk of the Roosters walks across the field following the NRL Preliminary
Cooper Cronk of the Roosters walks across the field following the NRL Preliminary Source: Getty


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NRL: Has Billy Slater played his final game? Storm legend facing shoulder charge ban

Melbourne will push to have Billy Slater's judiciary hearing brought forward to tomorrow after hiring gun defence counsel Nick Ghabar to help free the retiring star to play in his farewell grand final.

Slater's hopes of playing one last NRL game will rest in the hands of a three- man judiciary panel of ex-players next week, after he was hit with a grade-one shoulder charge offence for Friday night's hit on Cronulla winger Sosaia Feki.

Melbourne were expecting their veteran fullback to go uncharged over the try- saving hit that pushed Feki into touch, but swept into action quickly after receiving the news on yesterday morning.

The Storm confirmed immediately they'd challenge the charge and hired Ghabar, who is considered as one of the best lawyers available when players attempt to evade a ban.

Ghabar was responsible for freeing Jack Wighton to play in the 2016 finals series after an apparent shoulder charge on Michael Ennis, when the Canberra fullback's prospects looked bleak.

He also successfully defended Sam Burgess against a shoulder charge claim at the start of last season after he cleaned up Canterbury's Greg Eastwood.

"We're going to leave no stones unturned and do everything we can to get Bill up," Melbourne football director Frank Ponissi said.

"We think we've got a strong case, we were disappointed he was charged.

"We've put the request in (for an early hearing). Our preference would be interests for the player and the game so everyone can move on and start talking about the grand final."

Whether the hearing can be pushed forward will depend on a number of logistical challenges for the NRL.

However, also working in Melbourne's favour is the fact that since the shoulder charge laws were rewritten at the start of last year, the panel has sided with the player four times out of six when challenging their charges.

Slater was adamant after the game the incident was just an "unfortunate collision", as both he and Feki were running at top-speed for the corner.

"He's obviously disappointed, but Bill being being Bill he's on the offensive straight away to do what he can to help with the defence case," Ponissi said.

"Whilst initially shocked and disappointed to be charged, he's putting everything into the defence. That's typical Bill."

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith also missed the Storm's 2008 grand final loss to Manly through suspension, while Kiwi hooker Issac

Luke is the last big name to have missed a decider due to a ban when he was playing for South Sydney in 2014.

Losing Slater would be a massive blow to the Storm, given he is still close to his best despite being 317 games into his NRL career.

If he is suspended from what would be a seventh grand final, rookie Jahrome Hughes would likely come in for just his 18th NRL match and first finals clash.

The retiring Storm star could face suspension for this hit on Sosaia Feki. Source: SKY


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