4 Apr 2012

Sport: Mateo quits Tonga to chase Origin dream, Tonga confirm Hawaii test

10:36 am on 4 April 2012

Warriors backrower Feleti Mateo is set to turn his back on Tonga in order to chase his State of Origin dream.

The 26 year old previously played for New South Wales City four years ago before switching his allegiance to captain Tonga at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

He's also eligible for England through his mother and next year will also qualify for New Zealand on residency grounds.

But he told Radio Sport that he plans to switch his allegiance back to Australia in order to revive his New South Wales hopes, meaning he would only be eligible for the Kangaroos at next year's World Cup.

Speaking before Mateo's confirmed his decision, national coach Charlie Tonga says the former Paramatta Eel has be a great servant for the Tongan team.

"He has given Tonga the last seven years he said to me he started playing for Tonga. He always put his hand up for Tonga and that's the sort of leaders that we want in our team. He has done a lot for Tonga and whatever decision that he makes I will support him and he knows that I will always be his mate and his friend."

Meanwhile Charlie Tonga confirmed that a raw team will a rugby league test against the United States in Hawaii next month.

It will be Tonga's first international since late 2010, and will focus on up and coming players not involved in professional competitions.

He says he's looking forward to seeing the team on the field again.

It's a great way to sort of explore and have a look at some of the younger raw kids who're coming through, especially in Tonga, and some of the young kids who are in New Zealand. I was there last week and even to select just seven players from New Zealand, who are not playing in the New South Wales Cup or Under 20s, so I'm always interested in seeing the up and coming kids, who are honest and also those who are on the fringes.

Tonga have also confirmed a full test against Fiji later this year.