6 May 2016

Sport: Tonga expects tight battle with Toa Samoa

12:20 pm on 6 May 2016

The Tongan rugby league coach is expecting another tightly-contested game when the Mate Ma'a Tonga meet Samoa tomorrow in Sydney.

Last year the Samoans won a thriller, 18-16.

Samoa and Tonga rugby league teams after their Pacific Test.

Tonga and Samoa after their 2015 fixture. Photo: Facebook

Kristian Woolf said he expects a similar game this year but hopefully with a different result.

"It's won in the middle and there is some really big bodies that are going to be going at each other," he said.

"Our blokes love the contest and love nothing more than playing against Samoa and obviously want nothing more than to beat Samoa as well. There is no love lost between the two nations."

"I think whoever can get on top of the other forward pack is the team that can create a little bit of space for their backs and get the win in the end."

Sika Manu leads by example

Kristian Woolf also paid tribute to his team's captain in the lead-up to the test.

Most of the travel expenses to bring the team together had to be covered by the players themselves.

Woolf said Sika Manu, who plays for Hull in the UK Super League, has been a great example to the rest of the young squad with his commitment.

"He's been our captain for the last three years and everytime that I've asked him to put his hand up and represent Tonga he's never hesitated," Woolf said.

"He does a really good job of it. He's a terrific leader for us. Getting him back from the Super League was a real boost for us actually. It was difficult and obviously it's a long way to travel and big commitment from him as well."

"We are really glad we have got him back."

Tongan captain Sika Manu.2013

Tongan captain Sika Manu. Photo: Photosport