Mal Meninga: Australia hopeful of playing Tonga this year

Mal Meninga has confirmed that the proposed Test match between Australia and Tonga will not be played in the United States.

It was reported last month that the NRL was considering taking a one-off Test between the Kangaroos and the Mate Ma’a to New York at the end of the season.

Australia coach Meninga confirmed the Test in the US will not go ahead this year, but is hopeful of the Test match being played either in New Zealand or Australia.

He told NRL.com: “The game in the United States is out of the picture.

“Unfortunately, the promoter felt it was too late and couldn’t commit to the financial position that the game wanted to take.

“Everyone from our side and Tonga Rugby League was positive and wanted it to happen. We had a good appetite to promote the game but the promoter felt like it was not the right time for him.

“As far as the Tonga game is concerned, we are still hopeful that we can get a game up, whether that be in New Zealand or Australia. We need to settle on a plan very soon if the game is going to take place because a lot of organisation needs to be done for it to happen.”

Meninga has stressed that it is important that the Tier Two nations play the Tier One nations outside of major tournaments.

He added: “I am all for international rugby league.

“I want the Pacific nations in the southern hemisphere to get the opportunity to play more footy as a group and against the leading nations. I am hoping the Australian team can play against the Tongans this year.”

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