20 Sep 2018

Sport: Tonga names formidable squad ahead of historic test

8:04 am on 20 September 2018

Tonga has named a 29-man preliminary squad full of National Rugby League (NRL) experience to prepare for next month's historic test against Australia.

The October 20 match, which was only confirmed this month, will pit the Mate Ma'a Tonga against the world champion Kangaroos for the first time.

Konrad Hurrell celebrates a try for Tonga.

Koniseti Hurrell scored a try when Tonga last played in June, when they defeated Samoa 38-22 Photo: Photosport

Included in the squad are all but two members of Tonga's 2017 World Cup team, which reached the semi-finals.

Parramatta second rower Manu Ma'u misses out, after suffering a mid-season injury, and iconic wing Manu Vatuvei's international career looks to be over after experiencing his own injury worries and having his Salford contract terminated earlier in the year.

New faces include 25-year-old Cronulla Sharks forward Scott Sorensen and New Zealand-born teenager Moeaki Fotuaika.

Moeaki Fotuaika carries the ball for the Gold Coast Titans during a July game against the Warriors

Moeaki Fotuaika carries the ball for the Gold Coast Titans during a July game against the Warriors Photo: Photosport

The squad also includes the current top tryscorer in the NRL, Warriors wing David Fusitu'a, and six players who are still playing in the preliminary finals including blockbusting prop and former Australian international Andrew Fifita.

Both Jason Taumalolo, who captained the team during the Pacific Test against Samoa this year, and Sika Manu, who was captain during the World Cup, are included in the squad.

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf said he was pleased with the depth he had manage to draw together.

"We feel it is representative of the depth of Tongan rugby league in both the NRL and English Super League, and also rewards players that have made a firm commitment to playing for their country of heritage," he said.

"This will be a huge occasion for Tonga to take on the top-ranked rugby league country in the world, so we need every player we can committed to that goal."

The final Mate Ma'a Tonga squad will be announced next month and will go into a 10-day team camp, leading up to the Test.

Andrew Fifita, (right) and Michael Jennings get emotional while representing Tonga at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

Michael Jennings, (left), and Andrew Fifita will lend their big game experience to the Tongan team Photo: Photosport

TONGA RUGBY LEAGUE SQUAD:

Andrew Fifita - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Addin Fonua-Blake - Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Mahe Fonua - Wests Tigers

Moeaki Fotuaika - Gold Coast Titans

David Fusitua - Warriors

Siliva Havilli - Canberra Raiders

Ata Hingano - Canberra Raiders

Will Hopoate - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Koniseti Hurrell - Gold Coast Titans

Michael Jennings - Parramatta Eels

Robert Jennings - South Sydney Rabbitohs

Solomone Kata - Warriors

Sione Katoa - Penrith Panthers

Samisoni Langi - Catalans Dragons

Tuimoala Lolohea - Wests Tigers

Sika Manu - Hull FC

Sam Moa - Catalans Dragons

Ben Murdoch-Masila - Warrington Wolves

Joe Ofahengaue - Brisbane Broncos

Tevita Pangai Junior - Brisbane Broncos

Agnatius Paasi - Warriors

Leivaha Pulu - Warriors

Scott Sorensen - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Ukuma Ta'ai - Huddersfield Giants

Jason Taumalolo - North Qld Cowboys

Tevita Tatola - South Sydney Rabbitohs

Siosiua Taukeiaho - Sydney Roosters

Peni Terepo - Parramatta Eels

Daniel Tupou - Sydney Roosters

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