Any Mate Ma’a supporters still hoping to see a Tonga-Australia game in Auckland only have to look the NZRL calendar to have their last hopes dashed.
New Zealand Rugby League’s online calendar shows the Tuakana Maori rugby tournament on October 20, not the Tonga-Australia clash fans had hoped for.
Two days ago the Sydney Morning Herald claimed the NZRL was opposed a clash between the triumphant upstart Tongans and Australia in Auckland.
It blamed the New Zealand Rugby League for being lukewarm about the proposed match.
The Australian newspaper quoted NZRL boss Greg Peters as not being keen on a Tonga-Australian game because it would come a week after an all Blacks-Australia clash on October 13.
It said Peters denied the NZRL was snubbing the Tongans as payback for the New Zealand-based players, such as Jason Taumalolo, who opted to play for Mate Ma’a instead.
During its surge towards the semi-finals Tonga defeated New Zealand
“It’s the first time we’ve played Australia in New Zealand for four years,” Peters said.
“Other than the World Cup, we’ve had precious little [international rugby league] in our own market.”
Plans for a Tonga-Australia match first surfaced late last year when Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga gave his backing to a test in Hawai’i some time this year.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph reported at the time that negotiations were under way to stage the game in Honolulu’s 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium.
The Honolulu game never happened and over the weekend the Sydney Morning Herald said a decision on whether an Auckland game went ahead would be made in the next 48 hours.
The NZRL calendar appears to say it all.
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