Tongan rugby league team aggrieved at ‘small profit’ from sold-out Auckland test against Australia

Mamahi Liiki 'a Tonga’ 'ikai ma'u ha'anau 'inasi mei he fe'auhi mo 'Aostelēlia ne fakatau 'osi ai 'a e tikite huu' pea ko e toko lahi taha 'o e kau mamata liiki ko e kakai Tonga. Vakai ki he uepi 'a e Kaniva'. Ko e fe’auhi ‘eni ‘a e Mate Ma’a Tonga, Nu’u Sila mo ‘Aositelelia ‘i ‘Okatopa ‘o e ta’u ni ne fakalele ‘e he kautaha ‘akapulu liiki ‘a ‘Aositelēlia pe NRL. Pehē ‘e he NRL na’e lele mole pe ‘a e fe’uhi ka kuo fakahā ‘ ha lipooti ‘a e TVNZ One News ne ‘i ai ‘enau fakatotolo ‘a kinautolu ‘o mahino ne ma’u ‘e he NRL ‘a e tupu ko e $1 miliona mei he fe’auhi ni.

(Stuff, Fairfax Media ) Tonga Rugby League officials are disappointed at their poor return for their historic test against Australia  in Auckland last October.

A TVNZ One News report on Sunday said the Tongans received “virtually no proceeds” despite the sold-out game attracting 26,214 mainly Tongan fans.

The match was organised by Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) organisation, who reaped the majority of the profit.

Tonga Rugby League (TRL) president Semisi Sika told One News his organisation saw little of it.

Andrew Fifita leads the Tongan Sipi Tau
against Australia.
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORTAndrew Fifita leads the Tongan Sipi Tau against Australia.

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 “Once you feel you are being used and abused, that’s when things are going to start changing.”

The TRL were also aggrieved at not being given VIP tickets for their sponsors, who support the Mate Ma’a Tonga team. 

Melino Maka of the Tongan Advisory Council says the NRL needs to change its attitude.

He said it “should treat Mate Ma’a Tonga with respect.”

Tonga star Jason Taumalolo on the charge against Australia.
PHOTOSPORTTonga star Jason Taumalolo on the charge against Australia.

The NRL told One News  it only made a “small profit” from the game but, the television network claimed it had received a confidential independent analysis which had estimated the match made around $1 million, after expenses.

The NRL statement said many of its other international matches, including mid-year Pacific tests, ran at a loss, so surpluses from matches like the Tonga-Australia test underwrote poorer performing events.

One News said the leaked report also stated the Tongans were treated in an “unfair and likely underhand manner,” and an inquiry was warranted.

Its report said the Australian players were paid $5000 each, but the Tongas got $3000 per man.

“Tonga desperately wanted to have a match against Australia,” Maka said.

“Australia NRL took advantage of Mate Ma’a Tonga.”

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