Tonga has improved dramatically in the in the past couple of years, and there’s been speculation Australia will play the Polynesian nation in a test match at the end of the year.
Nothing has been confirmed, but Australia must play Tonga this year to promote and improve the international game – and the NRL needs to act quickly on this as they only have until 30 August to make a decision.
If the two teams clash this season, they need to find a stadium for the match to be played in, but perhaps the best choice is Panthers Stadium in Penrith. It’s in Western Sydney, where a lot of Tonga fans live, and there’ll be no shortage of Australian fans either.
They could play it at Suncorp Stadium, but it’d be better at a suburban ground with a packed house.
There’s no point playing it at ANZ Stadium, where you’ll get heaps of empty seats and no atmosphere. If it’s played at Penrith there’ll be 20,000 fans and an absolutely electric atmosphere – especially if the match is played in the afternoon with a 4pm kick-off.
This is a match international rugby league needs to have, so I don’t why it hasn’t been confirmed yet. There was a push for it to be played in New York, but the promoter couldn’t commit to the financial side of it.
Currently the Kangaroos have only one more test match for this year, on 13 October against New Zealand in Auckland. England then plays New Zealand in England.
If Western Sydney Stadium was finished, this match would’ve been played there.
Australia needs to play Tonga. Let’s make it happen.