HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 11: Andrew Fifita of Tonga takes a selfie during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match between the New Zealand Kiwis and Tonga at Waikato Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

The NSW Blues are preparing for life without Andrew Fifita after the revelation of his long-awaited eligibility decision.

The opportunity to represent his Tongan heritage this year once again proved too good to refuse.

The debate regarding eligibility began with Fifita and his infamous walk out on the Kangaroos to represent Tonga.

While many would support his ambition, anger would be directed towards Fifita due to the fact he withdrew just prior to the opener, jeopardising Mal Meninga’s initial plans.

Without formally publicising his decision, Fifita took to Halfcast UFC Podcast. 

“I’ve been putting it off for a while now … but I won’t be playing Origin,” Fifita confirmed.

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“I won’t be playing for Australia again and I’m sticking with Tonga.”

During the podcast, the 28-year old declared that ‘he had something to say’ resulting in the statement of ‘we went so well, I’m going to stick with Tonga for the rest of my playing career’.

Sharks head coach Shane Flanagan publicly backed his decision earlier in the week.

“I think he’s confident in the decision he’s going to make,” Flanagan said.

“I don’t need to advise him what he should or shouldn’t do. It’s coming from the heart.”

26 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know how to fathom this. I think to grow the game, nations like Tonga need a fighting chance in a World Cup scenario – but how often do they get to represent? So many players that are scouted at a young age, then play for state and Australia , and when they are at the end of their career – play for their “heritage.” I think playing for “heritage” will,eventually be more important than state of origin.

  2. Had to do it to em:

    If I was to pick the team today based on current form

    1. Tedesco
    2. Mansour
    3. Mitchell
    4. Aitken
    5. T. Trbojevic
    6. Green
    7. Maloney
    8. Vaughan
    9. McInnes
    10. Campbell-Gillard
    11. Cordner
    12. Graham
    13. J. Trbojevic
    ————————————-
    14. De Belin
    15. Frizzell
    16. Klemmer
    17. Jackson

    18. Keary
    19. Addo-Carr
    20. T. Sims

    • 1 Tedesco
      2 Mansour
      3 Mitchell
      4 Walker
      5 T Trbojevic
      6 Keary
      7 Maloney
      8 Vaughan
      9 Koroisau
      10 Campbell-Gillard
      11 Cordner
      12 Frizell
      13 J Trbojevic

      14 Peachey
      15 De Belin
      16 Jackson
      17 Klemmer

      You may say I’m bias for having 4 manly boys in their but all deserve a spot, still a long way to go as well hence me putting in Walkz as I still think he is NSW best centre hoping he returns in form for manly this week. I also think Cleary will take a spot if fit, looks unlikely though. Also does anyone know if Waqa blake is eligible for NSW.

      • Your bias for having 4 Manly boys there.
        On form McInnes is in front of Koroisau although either are better than Peats.
        Jake is one of the first picked but for me Tom has to be fullback or not in the side.
        I can’t go past Mansour and Addo-Carr as the wingers.
        I would give Tedesco first go at FB in game one and if he plays like crap give Tom a run in game two.
        Also I disagree with your assessment of Walker being the best centre in NSW.
        All I can say is there is no way in hell any of the boys from Parra would make that squad going on current form.

        • I agree with walker. He is awesome in a structured centre role when has developed form after injury, but Aitken is playing like an animal whenever he gets a sniff of the ball.
          Other centre, Mitchell will either give you a red hot performance of just flop, turbo will give a more reliable performance.
          I disagree with the hooker. Korisau is a menace around the ruck and he seems to pop up everywhere else as well.

        • Turbo Tom should be fullback and I’d pick him at fullback, he’s currently better than Tedesco on form. But watching filter speak about it looks like he wants Tedesco no matter what form he is in, he is now a Rooster after all. He will pick Tom at centre or Wing. And Koroisau is NSW best option at 9, great defender, creative and zippy. McIness is solid and reliable but doesn’t have xfactor.

        • 100% agree on Tom, either fullback or not in he team..
          He isn’t a winger he’s not that classy finisher like wingers are, he is a creator sos just wasted ok wing or even centre.
          Tedesco is just a runner why Albany he play wing and Tom at fullback.
          I like Mansour but surely on form he is nowhere near being picked, he looks not interested and lazy atm..
          I do think walker is nsw best centre when he is fit, bit think he is going to take 6 weeks to get back to where he needs to be really meaning prob won’t play nsw this year…
          Personally think api is clearly the best nsw hooker, bit yep McInnes would be better then peats, wel everyone better then peats

        • I agree with your assessment on Mansour crowy. What I have seen he doesn’t look like he wants to be there. I still think he will be picked though, and would expect he will step it up for the Blues.

          I’m not convinced on Walker, and on form Aitken definitely deserves a go. But it will all depend on who we have in the halves. Our outside guys have been ineffective for so long because the halves don’t get them any quality ball.

          On Turbo, whilst I have said all along that he is second to Teddy in the pecking order, on current form he is playing better and offering a lot more than Tedesco. I wouldn’t play either on the wing though. If Teddy is fullback, then play Turbo in the centres. If Fittler does go with Turbo, which I highly doubt, I think Tedesco misses out all together.

          My backline would be

          Turbo
          Mansour
          Aitken
          Mitchell/Walker
          Addo-Carr
          Keary
          Maloney

        • Eels47
          Yeah there is something wrong with Mansour, whether a small injury or what we obviously think, he doesn’t want to be there. He prob will come good for nsw, just fine it hard to reward someone who is just going through the motions for club..
          I think walker is the go, but he is not even back for manly yet and feel he will be too short this year, and really think who they pick, if they are giving some new guys a go, they need to pick and stick for the entire series…Aitken definetely going good, but no doubt Ferguson and Dugan will be he centres…
          Fullback is biggest debate, Tedesco was gray last year and obviously very good, but I really think Tom offers more, as he is a strong runner like Tedesco but has way better ball skills and vision. Tedesco prob has better positional in defence so depends which way the want to go, but assume they go Tedesco, but yes neither should be on wing..
          I guess I’d like to see
          1. Tom
          2. Ado Carr
          3. Aitken
          4. James Roberts
          5. Cotric
          6. Green
          7. Maloney
          9. Api ( definetely Api)

        • Yeah, my concern with Tom is his positional play, where Tedesco has him covered in spades. Without Thurston and Cronk though, I think it is less of a concern now.

          I am hoping Fergo and Dugan are done for NSW, but the Fittler/Roosters thing worries me with Fergo.

  3. I think he has a deep resentment to the nrl and arl after receiving harsh sanctions over a breach of conduct , r.e. three letters on his wrist band that was intended to be a private inspiration to himself about his mate that was in trouble.
    This, plus his connection to his heritage would have swayed his choice.
    He would know the monetary cost of this decision better than anyone else but I think it would have massive, so to commit to Tonga over Nsw and aus, good on him. His family must be proud.

  4. Very brave decision but i think it’s a great one for 3 reasons:

    1. International footy, it might be getting more interesting and 2nd tier nations might be closing the gap on the top tier nations.
    2. Other players might follow suit and want to represent their heritage
    3. Now NSW get the chance to blood players like Vaughan, De Belin, RCG etc.

    Although I said that the 2nd tier nations are closing the gap, they might be still miles behind in their halves pairing. (Although Samoa look alright with Milford/Roberts/Brown/Lino/May/Luai and Tonga Lolohea/Hingano).

    My NSW team

    1. Trobjevic
    2. Mansour
    3. Mitchell
    4. Bird
    5. Tedesco
    6. Green
    7. Maloney
    8. Vaughan
    9. Wallace/Koroisau
    10. Klemmer
    11. Cordner (C)
    12. Frizell
    13. Trobjevic

    14. Cleary (I believe we need to blood him sooner or later, can learn his trade off the bench like QLD have done with their halves. Cronk, DCE, Morgan).
    15. RCG
    16. Graham
    17. Jackson

    18. De Belin
    19. Keary
    20. McLean

  5. About time, save the selectors the embarrassment of picking the fat waster again. Definitely one the ones who should have had a line put through their name never to wear the sky blue again (the others being Dugan, Woods, Ferguson and Pearce all for different reasons). Fatfita is a disgrace to the game, typifies the me first type of footballer that thankfully is not too prevelant in today’s league. Hopefully it stays way.

    My team would be:
    Trbojevic
    Ado-Carr
    Aitken
    Mitchell
    Mansour
    Keary
    Maloney (Cleary if and when fit)
    Vaughan
    Cook
    Klemmer
    Frizzel
    Cordner
    Trbojevic

    De Belin
    Jackson
    RCG
    Green (or Keary when Cleary returns)

  6. HIs 50 percent Tongan heritage, his 50 percent Koori heritage. Guess we won’t see him at the knock out again.

  7. Tedesco
    Mitchell
    Dugan
    Walker
    Trbojevic
    Green
    Maloney
    Woods
    Korosiau
    Klemmer
    Cordner
    Graham
    Trbojevic

    Jackson
    Frizzel
    Merrin
    De Belin

  8. Must admit to being disappointed with this news

    His ill discipline is a real boon to the queensland team.

    Although – to be fair, he was awful in the first game versus cowboys, but hasn’t been anything like the idiot he has been in the past, since. He seems to have given up his belly flop penalty pull behaviour, too. He used to belly flop at least 20% of his runs.

  9. There are so many NSW forwards in front of Fifita
    Vaughan
    Campbell-Gillard
    Klemmer
    Even Woods is in front of him 🙂

    So instead of fighting for the jersey he takes the easy/soft option

    NSW don’t need power puffs sooks like him. Last years series he had a cry because he was told to play off the bench. Good riddens!!

  10. As a Queenslander I’m cheering his not playing. On his best day he is one of the best forwards going.

    He does have a few bad games in him tho haha.

  11. 1. James Tedesco
    2. Josh Addo-Carr
    3. Tom Trbojevic
    4. Jack Bird
    5. Josh Mansour
    6. Luke Keary
    7. James Maloney
    8. Jack De Belin
    9. Damien Cook
    10. David Klemmer
    11. Boyd Cordner
    12. Josh Jackson
    13. Jake Trbojevic
    INTERCHANGE
    14. Wade Graham
    15. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    16. Tyson Frizell
    17. Ryan James
    RESERVES
    18. Dylan Walker
    19. Angus Chrighton
    20. Waqa Blake
    21. Paul Vaughan

  12. 1 tedesco
    2 mansour
    3 trbojevic
    4 roberts
    5 addo-carr
    6 green
    7 maloney
    8 vaughn
    9 koroisau
    10 trbojevic
    11 cordner
    12 jackson
    13 frizzle
    14 graham
    15 klemmer
    16 cook
    17 jack de belin

    I reckon tom is a better centre than wing, he always has that one drop under the high ball, however he does have good run metres. TBH I think Roberts and addo-carr deserve a go.

    screw utilities on the bench, overrated

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