Mate Ma'a squad named ahead of Kiwis test

By James Perry

Mate Ma'a Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has named a 22 man squad ahead of his side's rugby league test against the Kiwis next weekend in Auckland.

The squad includes five new players and also features NRL stars Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and David Fusi'tua.

Cowboys utility John Asiata, Manly hooker Manase Fainu, Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs, Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika and Roosters forward Sitili Tupouniua are the uncapped players in the squad.

Former Warrior utility Tuimoala Lolohea is the only player who will make the long journey back from the United Kingdom, where he plays for Super League side Leeds Rhinos.

"We have had a good core of players for the Mate Ma’a Tonga team since the 2017 World Cup and we have been able to add some more depth this year," Woolf says.

"It is going to be a huge occasion coming up against the Kiwis on their home turf at Mt Smart Stadium.  I know these players and the wonderful Tongan fans are already excited for the event and this squad will give us every opportunity to perform well in the test."

Tongan Rugby League fans will be out in force again at Mt Smart Stadium next week when Mate Ma'a Tonga play the Kiwis. Photo/file

Woolf will finalise his playing squad after this weekend’s NRL round concludes.  The Kiwis will be named on Sunday, however, Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor have been ruled out through injuries to the knee and eye socket respectively.

Tonga squad

John Asiata (North Queensland Cowboys)

Manase Fainu (Manly Sea Eagles)

Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)

Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Sea Eagles)

Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans)

David Fusi'tua (New Zealand Warriors)

Siliva Havili (Canberra Raiders)

Tuimoala Lolohea (Leeds Rhinos)

Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Michael Jennings (Parramatta Eels)

Robert Jennings (Wests Tigers)

Solomone Kata (New Zealand Warriors)

Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers)

Manu Ma'u (Parramatta Eels)

Tevita Pangai jnr (Brisbane Broncos)

Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos)

Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)

Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)

Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels)

Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)

Sitili Tupouniua (Sydney Roosters)