Tongan team want to move on from chaos

Tongan star player Jason Taumalolo says it‘s time to move on from the uncertainty and controversy of the past few months to grow the international game.

Jason Taumalolo, after the first ever win over Australia Photo: Photosport

Taumalolo led the Tonga Invitational XIII which sensationally created history by upsetting Australia over the weekend, a week after the team had also beaten Great Britain.

This year has been a period of uncertainty for the Tongans, much of it coming from a long-running dispute between coach Kristian Woolf and the local Tonga National Rugby League.

There has been court action, claim and counter-claim and anger expressed through many in the the rugby league community.

Taumalolo‘s co-captain, Siosiua Taukeiaho, made reference to the uncertainty after their Australian win saying the players didn‘t even know if they were going to play this year.

Taumalolo said it was time to move forward.

“You know my priority at the time was to get rugby league in Tonga on the straight and narrow,” he said.

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“Making sure that rugby league in Tonga would be competitive and we‘d see much more rugby league tests for Tonga so now that we‘ve finally moved on from that, the boys prepared well given the circumstances we were in these last few months so to go from almost not playing test footy at the end of the year to putting on the red and white jersey…

“I think the boys have done well to prepare and to come into to camp ready to represent Tonga.”

The Invitational coach Kristian Woolf said they had faced some tough days but now all they needed was the right governance in Tonga.

Woolf also hit out at members of the community who had called for a boycott of the team‘s games.

“There‘s been a lot of blokes who call themselves community leaders, calling for boycotts and calling for splits in the community and they‘re not leaders,” he said.

“The blokes who actually are leaders are the blokes like Jason, Siua, those kind of guys who unite the Tongan community, and what they did…they showed they‘re leaders and they show they‘re leaders in their actions,” Woolf said.

Coach Kristian Woolf and co-captain Siosiua Taukeiaho Photo: Photosport

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