Hull KR’s new signing Albert Vete hopes to have a big year in Super League so he can make the Tonga squad for this year’s World Cup.
The 28-year-old prop has joined the Robins on a two-year contract from reigning NRL champions Melbourne Storm.
Vete has played twice for Tonga since making his international debut in 2015 and is hoping strong performances for Hull KR will earn him selection in Kristian Woolf’s Tonga squad for the World Cup this autumn.
When asked if he would like to play for Tonga at the World Cup, Vete replied: “100%, not just because they are doing well right now but because it is such a privilege to represent your heritage and culture.
“When I made my debut for Tonga, the joy and happiness I saw in my parents’ eyes was something that I won’t forget. It means a lot to them just as much as it means to me to put on that red jersey.
“I’ll be putting my best foot forward. Obviously it helps that Kristian Woolf is over here coaching St Helens.
“I’d definitely be trying to get my brother and parents over if I do get lucky enough to get picked in that squad. Obviously there are a lot of good Tongan front-rowers in the NRL and Super League so to get picked in those international teams you have got to play well for your club, so my focus is on playing good for Hull KR.”
Vete, who made 54 NRL appearances for New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne, takes immense pride in representing the Pacific island of Tonga.
He added: “I was born in New Zealand but both my parents and grandparents were all born in Tonga.
“When I first got the phone call from Kristian Woolf that I was going to be making my international debut, my parents both broke down in tears when I told them.
“I just get goosebumps in my whole body and I had never felt that before. The emotions that my family showed just meant to me that this was the right thing to do.
“This is who I want to represent, who I want to play for. There are a lot of kids in Tonga watching and hopefully I can inspire some of them to chase their dreams.”