27 Apr 2015

Sport: Tonga, Fiji, PNG name teams for Pacific Test

1:15 pm on 27 April 2015

Penrith front-rower Sika Manu will lead a young Tongan squad against Polynesian rivals Samoa, who have delayed their team announcement until Monday.

The Tongan Rugby League team

The Tongan Rugby League team Photo: Supplied

Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell returns to the Mate Ma'a fold after being overlooked by the Kiwis.

Robert Jennings and Anthony Tupou were forced to withdraw from the original squad through injury, and have been replaced by Jorge Taufua and Asipeli Fine.

Newcastle Knights brothers Daniel and Jacob Safiti and Cowboys centre Viliame Kikau, are set to make their test debut for the Fiji Bati against Papua New Guinea.

Fiji take on Samoa at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Fiji take on Samoa at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fiji have been hit hard with Kane Evans, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Waqa Blake, Akuila Uate and Tariq Sims included in the New South Wales Country and City teams, with Semi Radradra, Sisa Waqa and Vitale Jr Roqica also unavailable.

The squad also includes West Tigers star Kevin Naiqama and three local Fijian players, Tikio Noke, Osea Sadrau and Timoci Ratulolo Dabea.

Meanwhile Papua New Guinea coach Mal Meninga has named 11 PNG Hunters players in his squad to face the Bati, while Penrith Panthers duo Stanton and Wellington Albert are also Hunters alumni.

PNG players at the Rugby League World Cup.

PNG players at the Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Despite a lack of NRL players Fiji coach Rick Stone expects PNG to be competitive.

"The team in the Queensland Cup is only going to help them continue to grow and evolve I suppose as a team and the quality of competition they're playing in each well will hold them in good stead," he says.

"I took a Fijian team to PNG a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed my time up there - their passion for the game and their commitment for what they do and everyone just gets really infectious about the game so I'm looking forward to see the boys come down here [to Australia] and play and I think they'll get a good crowd up the Gold Coast with Samoa and Tonga obviously having a game as well."

The winner of the two Pacific tests will play-off later this year, with the winner of that game to earn a spot in the Four Nations tournament alongside New Zealand, Australia and England.

Tonga squad:

  • Tuimoala Lolohea - NZ Warriors
  • Jorge Taufua - Manly Sea Eagles
  • Konrad Hurrell - NZ Warriors
  • Solomone Kata - NZ Warriors
  • Mahe Fonua - Melbourne Storm
  • Samisoni Langi Sydney Roosters
  • Joel Luani - West Tigers
  • Richard Fa'aoso - Parramatta Eels
  • Pat Politoni - Cronulla Sharks
  • Peni Terepo - Parramatta Eels
  • Sika Manu - Penrith Panthers (captain)
  • Manu Ma'u - Parramatta Eels
  • Siosiua Taukeiaho - Sydney Roosters
  • Sosaia Feki - Cronulla Sharks
  • Ben Murdoch-Masila - Penrith Panthers
  • Felise Kaufusi - Melbourne Storm
  • Albert Vete - NZ Warriors
  • Asipeli Fine - Wests Tigers
  • John Folau - Parramatta Eels

Fiji squad:

  • Kevin Naiqama - Wests Tigers
  • Marika Koroibete - Melbourne Storm
  • Fabian Goodall - Wentworthville
  • Brayden Wiliame - Manly Sea Eagles
  • Eto Nabuli - St George Illawarra Dragons
  • Darryl Millard - South Sydney Rabbitohs
  • Ryan Millard - Brisbane Norths
  • Eloni Vunakece - Wyong Roos
  • Apisai Koroisau - Penrith Panthers
  • Daniel Saifiti - Newcastle Knights
  • Jason Bukuya - Cronulla Sharks
  • Jacob Saifiti - Newcastle Knights
  • Korbin Sims - Newcastle Knights
  • Tyrone Phillips - Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
  • Viliame Kikau - North Queensland Cowboys
  • Tikio Noke - Fiji
  • Osea Sadrau - Fiji
  • Timoci Ratulolo Dabea - Fiji

Papua New Guinea squad:

  • Stanton Albert - Penrith Panthers
  • Wellington Albert - Penrith Panthers
  • Ase Boas - PNG Hunters
  • Josh Damen - Souths Logan Magpies
  • Israel Eliab - PNG Hunters
  • Adam Korave - PNG Hunters
  • Nene Macdonald - Sydney Roosters
  • Rhyse Martin - Townsville Blackhawks
  • Tyson Martin - Mackay Cutters
  • Willie Minoga - PNG Hunters
  • Kato Ottio - PNG Hunters
  • Luke Page - Canberra Raiders
  • Brandy Peter - PNG Hunters
  • Wartovo Puara - PNG Hunters
  • Esau Siune - PNG Hunters
  • Thompson Teteh - PNG Hunters
  • Ray Thompson - North Queensland Cowboys
  • Lawrence Tu'u - PNG Hunters
  • Noel Zeming - PNG Hunters