The much touted Tonga-Australia match could be on after all, following reports that Australian players are prepared to take a massive pay cut to make sure the game goes ahead.
There are reports that the Australian team members have agreed to take Aus$5000 instead of their usual $20,000 for the match.
Mate Ma’a players would be paid the same.
The news comes just days after reports that King Tupou VI contacted Australia rugby league’s governing body, the NRL, to ask their help in staging the game.
It’s also an indication of how much money Australia and New Zealand-based Tongan players sacrificed when they opted to play for the kingdom in the Rugby League World Cup.
The official Australian Rugby League site, NRL.com, quoted Rugby League Players’ Association boss Ian Prendergast as saying the players had agreed in principle to the match.
“We’re still working through those details but it may be that the Australians receive a very smaller match payment, the same as the Tongan boys and that’s something that they’re willing to accept on a one-off basis to get this game across the line,” Prendegast said.
It has been suggested that Auckland’s 30,000 seat Mt Eden stadium would be the likely venue if the Australian league can persuade the NZRL to reverse its opposition to the game.
October 20 has been suggested as a date for the much anticipated match.
As Kaniva News reported recently, Mate Ma’a coach Kristian Woolf believes a decision on the proposed game needs to be made sooner rather than later.
In May NRL.com said details of the clash needed to be finalised by the end of August.
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