Fifita quits Kangaroos for Tonga at RLWC

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    Andrew Fifita has turned his back on Australia for the rugby league World Cup, joining New Zealand star Jason Taumalolo in defecting to Tonga.

    Star Cronulla forward Fifita was named in Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos squad this week but told the coach of his decision on Thursday.

    NSW representative Fifita has played seven times for Australia.

    Penrith forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been called into the Kangaroos squad.

    Powerhouse forward Taumalolo announced his defection to Tonga on Wednesday despite playing his last 10 Tests for the Kiwis.

    News Corp Australia reports up to seven other players could snub New Zealand to represent Tonga at the World Cup in October-November.

    The Tongan squad will be announced on Thursday morning.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (73)

    • October 5th 2017 @ 10:16am
      Jeffrey said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      I’m going to switch allegiances as a supporter and throw my support behind Tonga. Honestly, who is even going to bother to watch this tournament now? The eligibility rules of International League is such a joke and I presume that if Tonga gets knocked out early, these players can then switch to Australia and NZ for the semis.

      League is already such a tiny sport and the only three teams that realistically stood a chance of winning it were Australia, NZ and England. We can now throw NZ out of the mix with their suspensions and withdrawals and England in all likelihood will not be able to beat Australia. What’s the point of even having this joke of a tournament when the players themselves are putting their NRL clubs and own personal interests ahead of representing their countries.

      • October 5th 2017 @ 11:01am
        matth said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        Players will not be able to switch mid tournament.

        They are not putting their clubs and personal interests ahead of representing their countries. Like many people in this world they have mixed heritage and have decided to play for the country of their heritage. There is nothing wrong with that.

        The point of this joke of a tournament is not about who wins, but about those second tier countries’ players getting a chance to represent on the bigger stage. France and PNG teams are mostly home grown, USA is bring more local players this year. Fiji will have some local representation as well.

        Are you of Tongan or Samoan heritage? I’m not, so I won’t presume to lecture them on how they should make their choices.

      • October 5th 2017 @ 11:12am
        Jeffrey said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        “They are not putting their clubs and personal interests ahead of representing their countries.”

        Let’s see, Foran and Harris have withdrawn from the Kiwis in order to have a decent off season and get their bodies right for their respective NRL teams in 2018. Sure sounds like they are putting their NRL teams ahead of their country.

        It’s widely accepted that JT choosing Tonga over NZ was solely due to the non selection of Proctor and JB. Fifita’s reasons for not choosing Australia we are not sure of but it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that it has to do with him being snubbed over the last couple of years.

        Sorry, but I really don’t think you are accepting reality.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 11:22am
          matth said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          Fair call on Foran and Harris. But this article was about Fifita so when you said players were choosing club over country, Fifita is not doing this. He is choosing country of heritage over country of residence. As is JT13. Two different issues.

          • October 5th 2017 @ 12:04pm
            bbt said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            Harris has battled injuries for most of 2017. Getting fit again would be the sensible thing to do.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 5th 2017 @ 12:34pm
              William Dalton Davis said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              While Foran has pretty much survived his first season in a long while and more than likely needs the rest for his frail hammys and the niggles he dealt with for the majority of his season.

      • Roar Guru

        October 5th 2017 @ 11:22am
        The Saint said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        It looks like Tonga will have a very formidable team for the world cup.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 12:04pm
          Griffo said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          A strong forward pack anyway

      • October 5th 2017 @ 2:56pm
        Jimmmy said | October 5th 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

        Rugby League loves you too Jeffrey.

    • October 5th 2017 @ 10:28am
      Jock Cornet said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Shows how cheap an Aussie league jersey is. Fifita really values playing for his country.

      • October 5th 2017 @ 11:02am
        matth said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        After he got snubbed last year over off-field behaviour issues, this sounds like a tit for tat action. Also, the Tongan squad is likely to be pretty strong and they are obviously approaching players to convince them to play, which is their right.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 1:01pm
          JohnB said | October 5th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          I was channel surfing on Monday afternoon and there was a league game on the National Indigenous channel – final of a knockout comp, being played that day at Leichhardt Oval. Half time when I first saw it, and the camera was on one of the players in the Newcastle team’s huddle. Isn’t that Timana Tahu? I kept watching to check, and sure enough it was, although it took a while to confirm as he was on the bench. However, when the game resumed I heard the commentator say the name Fifita playing for the other mob (and it escapes me who that was). And that turns out not to be Andrew’s brother, or some other Fifita, but current NSW and Australian player Andrew, playing essentially a bush game with a world cup coming up (and not actually playing all that well – and his team was well beaten). Very odd set of priorities, whether he wants to play for Tonga or Australia.

          • October 5th 2017 @ 11:36pm
            Hopeless Knight said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

            @JohnB he was playing in the Aboriginal rugby league knockout and happens every year. You are surprised? Fafita and other NRL stars have been playing for years. Its a massive honour to play with your mob. Its ok you don’t understand. Maybe do some research and it may not come as a shock mate. Fyi Fafitas a prop and played how many games over 3 days?

            • October 6th 2017 @ 9:50am
              JohnB said | October 6th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

              No other “NRL stars” playing, in the final at least. Some players in the final were noted by the commentators as having played previously, some as having aspirations and one as playing in the 20s. I completely understand that it would be attractive to play with your “mob” and I assume Fifita is part Aboriginal as well as being Tongan. What I do find difficult to understand is that a top tier professional contract would let you play in a competition like this.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 6th 2017 @ 10:38am
                William Dalton Davis said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                If you’re talking about the Koori knockout (and if you seriously don’t know what it is you mustn’t have a very big interest in league) every year NRL players, former players, and rising stars participate.

              • October 6th 2017 @ 10:39am
                hopeless knight said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Not hard to understand at all. There were numerous NRL stars playing in this tournament and there are a lot more played in QLD and NSW tournaments this year already. Maybe the clubs understand” what it means to the players, their families and community ” and that’s why they give them their blessings to play if they are injury free and it is the off season. You assume Fafita is part Aboriginal… He did play with the Indigenous All Stars if that helps.

    • October 5th 2017 @ 10:32am
      Chook said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      After the BS surrounding the NRLs position on Fifita’s non selection for the Four Nations – his position to play for Tonga is quite understandable.

      And Jeffery it is a nothing tournament. It meant something back in the day up till the 80s. Its been a one or two horse race ever since.

      • October 5th 2017 @ 11:12am
        Dr Chop said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        yeah oath. I actually didn’t think of that. At the time i remember I was for him being left out but I can still see why he would do this. I reckon he probably won’t play for Australia again though – at least not while Meninga is coach.

    • Roar Guru

      October 5th 2017 @ 10:38am
      Hoy said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

      The eligibility is crazy… I just don’t get how they can play for years for a team, then at the WC, switch within a day or so of selection from another country…

      Wouldn’t Fafita have thought it a good idea to say something to Mal earlier than AFTER he was selected?

      • October 6th 2017 @ 8:10am
        Noel said | October 6th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        I think that’s the best point. Whether you’re for or against allegiance ‘swapping’, there should a be a deadline for, at least, tier one availability. Nominate yourself, or not. Being selected in the squad, then having a change of heart is not a good look, even if the reasons are right.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 10:01am
        Chook said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        Gents we are talking about Andrew Fifita….As a player he is in a class of his own on his day but he could never be accused of being a mental heavywieght

    • October 5th 2017 @ 10:41am
      Fox Lvy said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

      You don’t have to worry because the 3 big fish in this Sport would do everything in their power to stop this sooner rather than later.

      Tonga, Fiji and Samoa are the teams always waiting under the table to eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table (players are not selected by the 3 big selfish fish).

      • October 5th 2017 @ 4:50pm
        Not so super said | October 5th 2017 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

        You mean by selecting people who have never lived in that country
        We are all immigrants except for indigenous- should we all play for our heritage ?

    • Roar Guru

      October 5th 2017 @ 10:59am
      Nat said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Probably a good thing for him. Not as much social media to retaliate too when he drops the ball in an important game.

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