Rugby league needs Tonga vs Australia

Tom Gibbs Roar Rookie

By Tom Gibbs, Tom Gibbs is a Roar Rookie

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130 Have your say

    Before Tonga defeated Samoa 38-22 during the representative weekend, Jason Taumalolo called for a Test match between Tonga and Australia at the end of this season.

    “The only way we’re up with those top-tier nations is if we’re playing them,” the Cowboys wrecking ball said, echoing the thoughts of all rugby league fans.

    There has been a positive change across the international rugby league landscape after the recent World Cup, just when we thought the Kiwis and Kangaroos would comfortably reach another tournament final.

    This began with the defections to Tonga of two of the game’s best forwards, Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita, seeing the Pacific nation then move to fourth in the world rankings, behind Australia, New Zealand and England – the three top-tier nations.

    The rugby league world quickly turned their attention to Tonga in the World Cup when they defeated New Zealand in the group stages. After the semi-final, fans were left wondering what could have been had they scored a final-minute try against England – a win would have seen them meet the Kangaroos in the final.

    Now there is an argument to say that Tonga have reached top-tier status, so the NRL and Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) must pencil in this much-anticipated Test against Australia.

    Even more exciting would be the match-ups we would see as a result.

    The Tongan forwards feature Taumalolo, Fifita, and young gun Tevita Pangai Jnr. Include the likes of Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Joe Ofahengaue and Manu Ma’u, and you’ve got a pack that could outmuscle any opposition.

    Another string to their bow is that each of them have great attacking prowess, providing constant offloading threats and footwork at a level rarely seen in any other NRL forwards.

    In the backline, there are points to be scored on both sides of the park, with the likes of Michael and Robert Jennings, Konrad Hurrell, Daniel Tupou and Will Hopoate.

    Tonga tall

    NRLPhotos/Fional Goodall

    For the Kangaroos, a new-look side will be selected due to the representative retirements of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith. When coach Mal Meninga picks his new faces, he should look to Brad Fittler’s successful State of Origin campaign, which has featured 12 Blues debutants so far, including Latrell Mitchell, Nathan Cleary and Damien Cook.

    State captains Greg Inglis and Boyd Cordner should also be certainties, and surely there’s room for the best young talent in the NRL, Kalyn Ponga.

    While Tonga may lack NRL experience in key positions compared to their opposition, their pack could give them the upper hand, leading to a potential upset against the reigning World Champions.

    So now it’s up to the NRL and RLIF. Here’s an opportunity for international rugby league to regain its mantle as the pinnacle of our game.

    We saw the players’ passion during the representative weekend, so be ambitious and hold the Test in front of a full house at Suncorp Stadium – or, even better, at Eden Park.

    You name it and we will go there. The fans need to see it.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (130)

    • July 4th 2018 @ 3:39am
      Go warriors said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:39am | ! Report

      Yes, yes and yes. This would be a much watch game. I could see a big upset which would be massive for international rugby league.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 8:19pm
        Fred said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

        It would be an awesome game!

    • July 4th 2018 @ 6:03am
      CTSTORM said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:03am | ! Report

      None of the Tongan players live and play in Tonga, they are from NZ and Australia.

      • Roar Guru

        July 4th 2018 @ 7:03am
        The Barry said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:03am | ! Report

        Well done Einstein…where you’re born isn’t the only eligibility rule though…

      • July 4th 2018 @ 7:13am
        Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        CTSTORM – you are not right there. they dont live or play there as well as very few being born there. some have never even visited

        • July 4th 2018 @ 7:20am
          Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

          Who cares? It would be a massive game and league is going gangbusters in Tonga now off the back of the World Cup.
          A game like this would be terrific for the game across the South Pacific.

          • July 4th 2018 @ 8:45am
            Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

            Please explain “going gang busters”

            • July 4th 2018 @ 8:48am
              Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

              It’s an informed comment backed by research. Give it a try Geoff.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 8:56am
                Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

                To help you along your way Geoff I suggest you put the following three words in your search engine: Tonga, rugby, league. If you’re feeling adventurous add the word ‘growth’. Enjoy 🎃

              • July 4th 2018 @ 9:02am
                Steve said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

                Going gangbusters hahaha

              • July 4th 2018 @ 5:00pm
                Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                You haven’t provided any research? Just claiming something

              • July 4th 2018 @ 5:14pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

                Neither did you dustby. Now off you go like a good boy and find something that supports your statement. It’s not hard to do. Google is your friend!

              • July 4th 2018 @ 6:36pm
                Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                If Geoff is incapable of research ,perhaps he could look at a story by the ABC International Development as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships funded by the Australian Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade ,story by Joanna Lester posted 25th Oct 2017 Updated 29th Jan 18.
                It clearly outlines the what is going on in tonga from kids upwards, in regards to rugby league .One quote” The sport is enjoying unprecedented popularity back in the Islands.”

          • July 4th 2018 @ 8:57pm
            CTSTORM said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

            Why they pick some locals who actually played in thegame in Tonga and see how they go like the Kumuls.

            • July 6th 2018 @ 11:47am
              Crosscoder said | July 6th 2018 @ 11:47am | ! Report

              The Kumuls have a semi pro team playing as the Hunters in the Qld Comp,Tonga does not.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 11:30am
          Cathar Treize said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          “that Nigeria’s squad contained players born or bred in England, Russia, Germany and Holland”

          “Nigeria just have one – the reserve keeper” (based in Nigeria).

          https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jul/03/rugby-league-learn-world-cup-russia

          This is a good read & we all know rugby league’s international development is fairly late & certainly had far more roadblocks in front of it than most sports

          • July 4th 2018 @ 4:55pm
            Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

            Of course they live somewhere else. They are pro soccer players that follow the money

        • July 5th 2018 @ 7:00am
          Wolf676 said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

          Wrong mate they have all been to the islands.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 11:25am
        Cathar Treize said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        I read none of the Nigerian world cup soccer team were based in Nigeria (except the reserve goal keeper) & and many not even born there but do you think that stopped the nation backing their team? NOPE!

        • July 4th 2018 @ 12:32pm
          Mungo said | July 4th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          Once you play for Nigeria you can only play for Nigeria in Soccer unlike RL where you can change often your country.

          • July 4th 2018 @ 1:39pm
            Cathar Treize said | July 4th 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

            “Few viewers know or care that Russia’s excellent right-back Mário Fernandes has a cap for his native Brazil” But you aren’t here because you’re a RL fan hey?

            • July 4th 2018 @ 4:58pm
              Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

              One of example compared to the entire Tongan Heritagr team

              • July 4th 2018 @ 5:41pm
                Cathar Treize said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

                read his sentence. And if intl RL is not your cup of tea or formatted the way you think it should be, just stop following it & stop commenting on something others have posted because they like it. You have given an opinion and now you have given it over & over. Why?

              • July 4th 2018 @ 6:31pm
                terrence said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

                they’re all tongans mate..you should learn to love yourself and accept other people for who they are..

        • July 4th 2018 @ 1:09pm
          clipper said | July 4th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

          Many not even born there? – if you class 4 or 5 out of 23 as ‘many’ then I guess you’re right, but most would class many as meaning over half the team. Compared to only 1 of the Tongan league team being born in Tonga, it’s quite different.
          Also – where do you expect the players to reside when they’re playing for big clubs – they need to be in that country – why would they reside in Nigeria and fly out every day for training or practice?

          • July 4th 2018 @ 3:58pm
            Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

            Clip You ignore the comparison, by virtue of the size of the Soccer world cup ,to that of the RLWC and their International countries,most of which are minnows.Until such time these countries are fully developed there will be the odd chopping and changing and yes heritage players.So knockers like you Clip,will still be playing teh same old broken record.

            I note Clip you ignored the growth of rl in Tonga and what is going on there.Not surprised I might add.The fact that Tongan rugby league clubs operate rl competitions within that country and plays 9s tournaments in Hong Kong and in internationals in the Pacific,indicates decent development.

            The heritage players for Tonga were given a heroes’ reception when they visited Tonga post RLWC,and gave that code a huge boot.Much to your consternation ,I would suggest.

            And FYI only 1/4 of the Moroccan team were born in that country.When soccer is the major code in the overwhelming majority of countries.
            The point is no one complains about players born out of their country of descent, in this major event.Fans enjoy the huge event for what it is.

            • July 4th 2018 @ 4:25pm
              clipper said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

              Closer to a third and if Cathar had used Morrocco as example were ‘many’ of the players weren’t born in that country, then he would have been closer to the mark. Nigeria was a very poor example.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 6:29pm
                Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

                Try as you may Clipper,them’s the facts.Closer to 1/4 in Morocco..
                Soccer the world game in their world cup have players some representing countries of their descent, not where they were born.One point always thrown against rugby league .
                We are fully aware of the “flexibility” in players either heritage or chopping and changing in rugby league.That is being tightened.

                Nigeria had players born in England ,Russia,Germany and Holland,not Nigeria in the latest WC.Absolutley nothing wrong with that.The Soccer world cup is massive and spectacular.

                You can argue the toss as much as you wish ,to push your usual anti rtf agenda..You are trying to suggest the RLWC should follow what Soccer is doing.By sheer lack of numbers and country representation, it(rl) simply can’t.

                On that basis it is doing OK with the cards it is dealt.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 6:55pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                Poor old clump still hasn’t recover from his dismal effort over tv ratings. You know. The debate he tried to have where he could exclude any data that didn’t suit his argument? A novel and some might say blatantly dishonest effort from him 👎🏿

              • July 5th 2018 @ 9:46am
                clipper said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

                Justin – you have to get over it – the figures I gave were correct and industry standard. Once the metro and regional figures get sorted out and become industry standard you can have a go at me.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 10:02am
                Justin Kearney said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

                Clump I will never get over laughing at you and your deliberate misrepresentation of ratings data. Excluding data that doesn’t suit your argument is pathetic. Adding the ratings data is basic maths. Metro, regional and pay. You only quote metro as it’s the only market the afl leads. Coincidence? I think not 👎🏿

              • July 5th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                Crosscoder said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                No use Justin,our mate will continue on ,like the ebb and flow of the tides.
                Imagine you spending as much time on an AFL thread ,with the sole purpose of a negative agenda.Wouldn’t last five minutes.

                He’s an expert at demographics for rl, for touch football and that no NRL players apparently have played Touch prior,TV ratings, rugby league overseas.RLWCs,Tv sets being switched off in a pub to avoid NRL.

      • Roar Pro

        July 4th 2018 @ 2:13pm
        Ghost Crayfish said | July 4th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

        Of course they don’t live and play in Tonga. What professional rugby league could they play living there? Doesn’t change the fact that Konrad Hurrell, Solomona Kata, Sam Moa, Saliva Havili and others are all Tongans. For a country that probably didn’t even know what rugby league was 20 years ago, to be now providing an increasing number of professional players to the NRL represents genuine progress. The defection of others who want to represent that part of their heritage is giving that growth a huge kickalong – if you can’t see the momentum behind Tonga in the region (including in Tonga itself, where the King visited for their World Cup campaign!) then you’re blind. Encouragingly, rugby league’s growth in Tonga is mirrored by similar progress in some of the other countries in the region. Give it another 10 years and let’s see where we’re at.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 4:57pm
          Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

          So they aren’t kiwis despite being born and raised there? Must mean I’m Irish /Scottish

          • July 4th 2018 @ 6:40pm
            Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

            Better tell the Nigerians who were born in England,Germand,Russia and Holland they must represent the countries of their birth for the World Cup.It’s only fair hey Geoff.

            • July 4th 2018 @ 6:57pm
              Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

              League was number one in Tonga early on but got overtaken by union via NZ influence. Most tongans I know love both but prefer to play league.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 7:29pm
                terrence said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

                union was always no. 1 in tonga..still is and always will be..

              • July 5th 2018 @ 9:53pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

                Apparently league was there first Terrence but was over run by union and then disappeared until 1986.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 12:22pm
                Mumbles said | July 6th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                How many Tongans live in Tas??? Or is this another one of your dreams – how you write such dribble based upon your experience in a small town and then apply it widely is beyond belief. The TRL (now deceased) stood for tas not Tonga….

              • July 6th 2018 @ 12:45pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 6th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                Thought it was you. Sad bugger.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 9:03am
            Fred said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

            If you want to consider yourself Irish that’s up to you. Ned Kelly certainly considered himself Irish, despite being born in Australia.

            • July 5th 2018 @ 5:16pm
              Mungo said | July 5th 2018 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

              Fred

              That was Irish

      • July 4th 2018 @ 6:40pm
        T.42 said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

        That’s professional sports for you , you apply your Trade where you are wanted..

      • July 4th 2018 @ 10:56pm
        Bombing Tongan said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

        Being born somewhere doesn’t change your ethnicity.A dog born in the sea doesn’t make it a fish!!

    • July 4th 2018 @ 6:49am
      Robbo said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      Who cares if they live in NZ or Australia. They obviously have Tongan heritage which they are very passionate about.

      In case you haven’t noticed plenty of players in the football world cup do not live in the countries they represent.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 8:47am
        Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Living in another country is not the issue. It’s when 16 out of 17 of the Tongan Heritage Team were not born or never have lived in Tonga (often never have visited) . You can not say that about any Football World Cup side

        • July 4th 2018 @ 8:51am
          Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          This topic appears to be your pet hate Geoff. It doesn’t help that you have no idea what you are talking about. Regardless of your monotonous and relentless negativity the author of this article is correct and Tonga v Australia would be a tremendous draw card and a great step forward for the game.

          • July 4th 2018 @ 12:33pm
            Mumbles said | July 4th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

            For the brain dead who can’t smell barnum and Bailey

            • July 4th 2018 @ 3:43pm
              Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

              Barnum and Bailey involved entertainment.Entertainment is not a bad smell.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 11:22am
                Mumbles said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                Contrived entertainment

              • July 5th 2018 @ 12:22pm
                Crosscoder said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                LOL.People and the media are aware of the heritage or otherwise of the players.They can choose to watch it, get involved or ignore it.People putting their bodies on the line ,for a small pay packet is “contrived” wow.Walk up to Taumololo and tell him that.

                The TV ratings and in some cases the crowds ,have shown its value.It is obvious you have discomfort, the code has the audacity to stage such an event.Guess what,it’s survived and is doing OK,without your involvement.

                That makes $6m profit at least.
                Try telling that to the Tongan people in Tonga ,who welcomed the team after their performances in RLWC2017.

                Playing for a lot less than the Australians or Poms,no special COLAs or handouts like a code I could name, to stack the deck.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 3:42pm
          Fred said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

          Name one in the team that has never visited Tonga. I bet you can’t.

          • July 4th 2018 @ 5:10pm
            Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

            Up until last year, Andrew Fifita, daniel Tupou and Will Hopoate

            • July 4th 2018 @ 5:43pm
              Cathar Treize said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

              wow 3! Now they have which means ALL

            • July 4th 2018 @ 8:16pm
              Fred said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

              Lol but you said above many of the players had never visited!

        • July 4th 2018 @ 6:35pm
          terrence said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

          so what?..they are proud tongans..who the hell are you to define other people, their heritages and culture you are not a part of?

    • July 4th 2018 @ 7:18am
      Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      i dont think the Tongan Heritage Team would sell out Suncorp. they couldnt sell out Campbelltown which is less than half the side. The Tongan heritage side also has as halves such as reserve grade FB Lolahea and back up hooker Hingano. On the plus side the game would perhaps lead to someone in Tonga actually starting a Rugby league club, i dont think they actually have one yet.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 7:21am
        Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        You’ve made your point. Time to move on 👏🏼

      • July 4th 2018 @ 8:45am
        Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Geoff Dustby.
        With respect it shows you don’t do your homework.And that rugby league is in fact doing extremely well in Tonga.

        Your statement” I don;t think they actually have a rugby league club yet” smacks of total ignorance.

        Tonga
        24/1/18 Jason Taumololo had the local Tongan rl club comp named after him, as a result of the 2017 RTLWC.
        Apologies for any spelling errors on the following.
        Round 4 Division 1

        Group A
        Spartans v Lapaha Knights 12-11
        Ha’asini v Haalolo 14-12
        Fasi Mafagna v Toloa Old Boys 14-12
        Hihifo v Navotoka 30-0

        Group B
        Vaini Doves v Vlahona 32-29
        Kolomaa v Ha’akana 18-26
        Fuekafa v Havelu 22.3-
        Crusader v Mua Saints 34-26

        14 teams in Div 2.
        Plus junior teams.Oh and girls playing rl.

        Mu’a Saints played Spartans iat Toloa Tongatupu in final 12th May.

        15 local Tongan rugby league players represented Tonga in the Hong Kong Rugby League Nines tournament on 27th May 18 ,which they subsequently won on 29th May 18.

        And BTW even in the Soccer World cup. which is huge and globally popular,the Nigerian squad contained players born and bred in England,Russia,Germany and Holland..Only 1/4 of the Moroccan side were born in Morocco.The Russian right back Mario Fernandes has a cap for his native .Brazil.That 10% of players competing in Russia were born outside the country they represent.It does not hold this fabulous tournament back one iota.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 10:09am
          Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Yep it’s goung gangbusters as I said!

          • July 4th 2018 @ 12:35pm
            Mumbles said | July 4th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

            And the faux Nigerians will be playing for England next year – not

            • July 4th 2018 @ 3:42pm
              Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

              That’s not the point Mumbles, bearing in mind soccer is played in very country on the globe I would suggest.Meaning they have zero need to have players born and bred outside their own countries ,to play for their country.
              In contrast rugby league is a minnow in many of the countries it is played.Thus we have the chop and changing ,and that will continue until the code is well stablished in these other countries.
              It’s not the ideal, but one has to crawl before walking.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 11:25am
                Mumbles said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                The AFL could have a WCup on the same basis and people would laugh Croatia, Italy, Greece etc. Rather they have an International Cup (only 4 Aussie born allowed) and the rest are indigenous to that country. Much more believable and grows the game better…

              • July 5th 2018 @ 11:58am
                Crosscoder said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                Yeah read that paper thin argument many times before by the same posters.
                When AFL gets Eurozone recognition and grants year after year, when the British Govt forks out 30m Pds, to help stage a world cup(like RLWC 2021)when other countries Govts are providing grants to rugby league such as Ukraine/Serbia/Lebanon/Czech Republic,and when countries play each other in prelims locally toward a RLWC such as is now happening, then your doing something.
                When AFL has a world cup that makes at least $6m plus, when a country such as Tonga gives their team a heroes welcome, when the Commonwealth games gives the code at least a Tier recognition,you may have an argument.

                When your code has teams playing either pro or semi pro outside Australia in a few countries at least,you might get close to the mark Mumbles.
                Plus many major stadiums in England ,are bidding for inclusion in the RLWC 2021.

                ATM your’e whistling in the wind.The comparison is ludicrous.We’ve seen the “crowds “at the International Cup,say no more.If they were so certain about their ability and response,they would actually stage a World Cup.

                The growth in Eastern Europe( in particular ) for rugby league in the past few years ,has been applauded by the European Sports Commission.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 5:24pm
                Mumbles said | July 5th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

                I’ll use your defence u used elsewhere. The AFL international cup is young and growing so “crawl before walk”. International RL crowds are based on heritage players rather than locals played in Oz almost exclusively. But I digress answer this one simple question

                What other football code allows players to change countries at will? Don’t deflect – don’t go off on some Serbian tangent. name another code that’s allows a flag of convenience?

              • July 5th 2018 @ 9:50pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

                Thanks for mentioning Serbia mumblebum. Latest news is that a serbian team is interested in competing in either a lower league comp in England or the mooted European Cup. Exciting growth of our favourite game especially that we now have USA teams bidding to play in Europe as well.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 7:48am
                Crosscoder said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:48am | ! Report

                LOL.Your mob Mumbles has not even got to the stage of crawling internationally.Your getting desperate to use my analogy.
                If they were so confident they would in fact stage a WC.They simply don’t.
                They have zero pro and semi pro teams outside this country to access players for a start.They wouldn’t get TV backing ,nor the crowds, nor backing from overseas Govts to stage such an event.

                And just to enlighten you further ,I have found out 10% of the players in the football World Cup,were not born in the countries they represent.IOW heritage.

                A couple of examples to show you where rl differs from your mob.:
                Rugby league Europe on 23/12/15 received a record breaking financial boost to end what has been a pioneering season for the sport on the continent.
                The RLEF has been awarded a biggest ever grant of Euro 466,000 from the European Unions Erasmus + programme-one of only 22 projects selected for funding from over 330 applications for a three year scheme which includes 21 nations.Serbia and Ukraine two of the areas leading the project.

                29/11/15 As a result of of an earlier 3 year grant by the EU E195,000 .The RLEF has qualified 31 technical directors and have qualified 221 new Level 1 coaches now supporting the growth of rugby league in Europe.

                Have to report your firing blanks mate.

                You picked the wrong one in Serbia champ.The code is booming there clubs,police schools and armed services getting involved.Involved in the Baltic Cup.

                I’ve already spelt out earlier the heritage and eligibility issue which are being tightened .I’m not here to hold your hand.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 8:11am
                Cathar Treize said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

                Beach rugby league in Turkey recently -teams from all over incl Serbia, Lebanon, and that’s female teams! plus Tunisia, Bulgaria. AFL can’t even win on the beaches, how are they going to storm anywhere else?

                Young, hip, AFL would die for such a thing OS

              • July 6th 2018 @ 12:34pm
                Mumbles said | July 6th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

                So there is no other code than RL that has international eligibility rules that allow players to change at will. Thanks for deflecting away. Try playing a Tier 1 RL international in Sydney and try finding a neutral ref something RL seems incapable of. And have the Tongan test in Tonga just for a laugh instead of Campbelltown

              • July 6th 2018 @ 2:45pm
                Crosscoder said | July 6th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                Mumbles (and we have a fair idea of his prior monikers )is trying really, really hard.

                RLWC 2021 attracts venue interest from England and Overseas..The Cup has received 40 expressions of interest (and growing) from potential host venues.including areas outside England.
                Perpignon,Avignon and Limerick.In addition places like Cornwall ,Coventry and Bristol as well as London(the new Stadium),as well as Old Trafford.
                16 teams for mens, plus women’s WC RL,plus wheelchair rl WC.

                Already two qualifying rounds have been played overseas.SFA expats.
                .On 17/6 Czech Republic 20 beat Norway 12 .
                On 1/7 Ukraine 34 beat Malta 22.
                Chile will become the first South and Central American country to play qualifying games against USA,Canada and Jamaica overseas.
                Chile has a domestic season involving Sthn City of Los Angeles,Antofagasta in the Norrh.

                U19 rugby league Euro championship has started :-Not expats locals.
                31/3 Bulgaria lost to Serbia 20-26
                13/5 Italy beat Serbia 36-20
                19/5 Italy beat Ukraine 50-0

                to playU 19
                5/8
                Wales v Russia
                Ireland v Scotland
                France v Italy
                Serbia v England.

                RLWC 2021 classified as a major event at Uk Sports Launch.

                Women’s rugby league added to Pacific Games Council Charter on 19/6/18
                Yep nothing much happening overseas LOL.

                And Mumbles is suggesting his code is on a par.Research needed buddy.

                As to eligibility rules, check the details on the RLIF dated 6th October 2017.It is very clear.

          • July 4th 2018 @ 5:15pm
            Geoff Dustby said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            Optimistic definition of gangbusters. They might even have 500 players in the whole country

            • July 4th 2018 @ 5:21pm
              Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

              There were 1500 players two years ago duds. Team numbers have almost doubled since. Do the math. Union and league are now in an equal footing. That’s a little better than your terrific claim there were no clubs at all.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 6:21pm
                Chris.P.Bacon said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

                You’re on fire today Justin.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 6:24pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

                I does me best Chris.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 8:18pm
                Fred said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

                Considering Tonga’s small population, those are excellent numbers!

              • July 4th 2018 @ 8:21pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

                Latest participation figures have union at 7000 and league at 3000. Population 100000. They love their footy!

            • July 4th 2018 @ 6:48pm
              Crosscoder said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

              You do little research Geoff? I’ve spelt our teams involved earlier.

              In fact rugby league now has been tasked(which is a great honour) by Tonga’s physical education curriculum, known as movement and fitness, in primary schools across the nation ,led by Nehumi and Johannsi (D/Os for the NRL).Such is the profile of rugby league now in Tonga.

              The program is running across 52 schools on the main island of Tongatapu,20 in the island group of Vav’au(the homeland of Fuifui Moimoi) and 10 schools on each of the outer islands.
              In fact Johannsi noted there are more rugby league comps than rugby union here, and it’s getting bigger and better.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 7:25pm
                Kangas said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

                Well said m q

              • July 4th 2018 @ 8:22pm
                Justin Kearney said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

                The growth in league is so big the divide between the two code’s is diminishing quickly.

            • July 7th 2018 @ 10:07am
              paha said | July 7th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

              Well done pulling numbers out of your ass Geoff! Solid argument

    • July 4th 2018 @ 7:32am
      Burwale said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Tonga v Ponga. I’d like to see that!

    • July 4th 2018 @ 9:05am
      Steve said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

      I think the most important thing is we finally have a Tongan team now that’s born and bred in Tonga. It’s a big tick to the development of the sport their at a junior club and school level that they are producing so many NRL quality players. Now we just need them to play more regularly in Tonga rather than Campbeltown.

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