Mate Ma’a Tonga in training ahead of Saturday’s sell-out match with Australia

Andrew Fifita has called Saturday night’s match with Australia “the biggest match of the year.”

“If our team goes out and gets the job done on the weekend I guess we will be known as a forceful team,” the Mate Ma’a Tonga player said.

And Fifita has called for more games for the kingdom’s rugby league team.

Saturday night’s game is a sell out, with all of the 26,000 seats gone.

That is a  complete contrast with last week’s New Zealand-Australia clash, which sold half as many seats.

Mate Ma’a Tonga have been in training this week ahead of the game that many Tongan fans think they should have had the chance to play in the Rugby League World Cup.

After losing to England on a controversial decision, that was not to be, but tomorrow night will be compensation for some fans.

Both sides will be fielding teams with World Cup experience.

Tonga could have as many as 16 of their 17 from their 20-18 World Cup semi-final loss to England on the field.

The Kangaroos, who lost to New Zealand last weekend, will field nine players who took part in the World Cup final.

According to a report on the official New Zealand Rugby League site, Tonga has a handful of changes from the mid-year Samoa Test, with Solomone Kata and David Fusitu’a replacing Konrad Hurrell and Robert Jennings in the three-quarter line, plus Sika Manu and Tevita Pangai jnr replacing Manu Ma’u and Tevita Tatola in the pack.

The only additions to Saturday’s line-up from the team that defeated Samoa in June are Tevita Pangai jnr, plus World Cup squad members Ben Murdoch-Masila and Solomone Kata.

About 30,000 fans estimated to have turned up to this week’s free open at Mt Smart stadium to watch the Mate Ma’a Tonga train and to meet the players.

The game starts at 7.45pm

The main points

  • Andrew Fifita has called Saturday night’s match with Australia the “biggest match of the year.”
  • And Fifita has called for more games for the kingdom’s rugby league team.

For more information

Thousands show up to Mate Ma’a Tonga Fan Day at Mt Smart Stadium

Kangaroos v Mate Ma’a Tonga preview

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