New Zealand & Tonga should play three-game series during Origin period

11 Mar 20, 7:38PM 3 Comments

Written by Joshua Dean

Photo by Getty Images

State of Origin is one of the greatest things in Rugby League. The rivalry between New South Wales and Queensland captivates millions of fans but many great players miss out on participating due to being ineligible for selection.

Having a three-game NZ v Tonga series played during the State of Origin window would give some of these players a chance to build their own rivalry, whilst playing in high intensity environments.

The Oceania Cup would continue featuring Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands.

New Zealand have played the Tongan Rugby League team on six occasions, winning five times but Tonga have become a powerhouse in recent years and the battles between the two nations are great to watch. The problem is they just don’t play each another enough.

The concept would give fans from New Zealand, Tonga and other Pacific nations something they can support and connect with. Imagine a packed out Mount Smart Stadium for a deciding game between New Zealand and Tonga. The atmosphere would be electric and the quality of play would give the two teams a chance to compete with Australia at World Cups.

As for where the games should be held, two games in New Zealand and one game in Tonga would be ideal. This gives the fans an opportunity to watch their heroes play at least three times a year, hopefully more with end of season Test matches.

Game 1 – Eden Park (Auckland, New Zealand)

Game 2 – Teufaiva Sport Stadium (Nuku’alofa, Tonga)

Game 3 – Mt Smart Stadium (Auckland, New Zealand)

For too long now we only get to see International teams play every so often and that needs to be changed now. In doing so, Rugby League can only gain.

Would you support a three game series between New Zealand and Tonga?
225 votes

discussion on “New Zealand & Tonga should play three-game series during Origin period”

3 responses to “New Zealand & Tonga should play three-game series during Origin period”

  1. Dallas Boyd says:

    Sorry, not a fan of this at all. Is this an idea for one year only or ongoing?

    Sounds to me like half an idea, like “Oh wouldn’t this be great”, without really dealing with all the issues!

    So NZ play Tonga in 3 tests during origin and the Oceana cup carries on with the 4 other nations…simple hey.

    First thing…the Oceana cup was introduced to provide more test matches and more importantly more potential for the tier 2 teams to play against tier 1 nations. This idea cancels the second part of this and only allows for Tonga to get more games vs tier 1.

    Second…apparently there’s no room for Australia to play tests vs these nations anymore? What is the format for how this system would work? NZ and Tonga would play 3 tests during the year right?? Do any of the Oceanic tests get played during this time or are they left to the “international calendar” at the end of the year.

    You’re looking at 6 games of Oceana Cup but there’s been no suggestion when and where these games will be played.

    So what we’ve got atm is Tonga and NZ playing at least 3 tests per year, the Oceana Cup teams playing 3 tests per year, then what…Australia will play NZ once and perhaps Tonga once at the end of the year.

    So potentially you’ve got Tonga and NZ playing at least 4 tests per year, the Oceana Cup teams playing 3 tests per year and Australia playing two…

    This gives all these teams, particularly NZ and Tonga, a big boost to acquiring the all important test match ranking points over Australia.

    Could you really imagine the NRL forcing their clubs to make players available for these games in this situation…I don’t think so!

  2. Nathan Raukawa says:

    Should be Tonga vs Samoa Tri-Series.
    PNG vs Fiji Tri-Series and NZ vs ENG 2 Tests.

    But in order for that to happen NRL needs to halt all competition and have the International game expand and promote the fuck out of it. That’s the only way it can work. International RL all domestic comps should come 2nd to top league

    • Rod Cross says:

      Sounds great Nathan, just forgets a few important facts that Dallas has pointed out though…

      The NRL and SL would both have to agree to suspend their comps, this isn’t as simple as it sounds because both these comps make most of their money from TV, which pays them for their competition matches, not international RL. So there’s a shortfall in the money they make straight up, which means less money for the clubs/players.

      Also, as Dallas said, there is already an international calendar penciled in at the end of every season, what happens to that?

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