30 Oct 2013

Sport: Tonga's Brent Kite comes full circle at World Cup

8:02 am on 30 October 2013

Tonga rugby league captain Brent Kite comes full circle on Wednesday morning as Tonga open their Rugby League World Cup campaign against Scotland in Workington.

The Manly Sea Eagles prop made his first international debut for Tonga as a fresh-faced 19 year old at the 2000 World Cup, before he'd played a game in first grade.

13 years later, and with State of Origin and test caps for Australia in the bank, as well as two NRL Premierships, the 32 year old will lead the Mate Ma'a out against the Bravehearts, something he says is a great honour.

"I was here in 2000 and I was looking for a bit of a chance and a a bit of an opportunity to press my claims for selection into a first grade team and I'm one of the old heads now and the boys might be looking to me for some leadership and inspiration at times. I'm hoping I can provide it - I think I can - and representing Tonga for me is about lifting the profile of this small island nation. I think they've just got a depth of talent in league that, if we win a few games, we can help to lift that profile."