TONGA NAME FUSITU’A AND KATA TO FACE KIWIS

Mate Ma’a Tonga have named a preliminary 22-man squad for next week’s Test against New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium, including Warriors outside-backs David Fusitu’a and Solomone Kata.

The duo are joined by former clubmates – and fellow 2017 World Cup heroes – Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Siliva Havili and Tuimoala Lolohea. Another ex-Warrior, Canberra utility Ata Hingano, was ruled out via injury.

Fusitu’a and Kata have struggled to replicate the form that saw them represent both New Zealand and Tonga in recent seasons.

The NRL’s leading try-scorer in 2018, Fusitu’a has crossed just twice in 10 games this year. Meanwhile, Kata has been languishing in reserve grade since Round 7, despite being a first-choice player at the Warriors since his debut in the opening round of 2015.

Fusitu’a scored a second-half hat-trick in Tonga’s unforgettable World Cup upset of the Kiwis in Hamilton.

He is again likely to face several Warriors teammates next Saturday, with Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Leeson Ah Mau, Adam Blair and Isaiah Papali’i incumbent New Zealand Test players and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck an automatic pick if available.

Cowboys utility John Asiata, Manly hooker Manase Fainu, Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs, Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika and boom Roosters forward Sitili Tupouniua are the newcomers to Tonga’s squad, which is again coached by Kristian Woolf. Tonga’s last outing was a 34-16 loss to Australia in Auckland last October.

MATE MA’A TONGA SQUAD

  • John Asiata (North Queensland Cowboys)
  • Manase Fainu (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
  • Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans)
  • David Fusi’tua (New Zealand Warriors)
  • Siliva Havili (Canberra Raiders)
  • Tuimoala Lolohea (Leeds Rhinos)
  • Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs)
  • Michael Jennings (Parramatta Eels)
  • Robert Jennings (Wests Tigers)
  • Solomone Kata (New Zealand Warriors)
  • Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers)
  • Manu Ma’u (Parramatta Eels)
  • Tevita Pangai jnr (Brisbane Broncos)
  • Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos)
  • Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)
  • Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
  • Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels)
  • Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
  • Sitili Tupouniua (Sydney Roosters)
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