Touted as 'The Next Big Thing' in rugby league, Isaiya Katoa has pledged his allegiance to Tonga, declaring he will only represent them on the international stage.

Eligible to represent Australia and New Zealand, Katoa has declared his loyalty to Tonga even if his club coach, Wayne Bennett, is unveiled as the new Kiwis coach.

Born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, Katoa moved to Sydney at the age of nine years old. However, after a successful junior career, he made his international debut with Tonga at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup before playing more games with the national team at the end of last season in a three-match series against England.

Now 19, Katoa was asked if he would consider changing his allegiances from Tonga to New Zealand if Bennett was handed the top coaching job - the Dolphins coach revealed his interest in the role last month and the current frontrunner.

"I'm happy staying with Tonga and continuing what the team is trying to build," he told Wide World of Sports.

"It's a bit tricky because I'm eligible for a lot of different countries and I've always said that once I choose one, unless I'm not getting what I want out of it, I'm not going to change.

"[That includes] whether Wayne is coaching or not.

"I want success with the Tongan team and we haven't quite got there yet so I'm definitely looking to stay with the Tongan team.

"We're working as hard as we can to build something special over there and we're heading in the right direction, so I'll definitely be staying with the Tongan team."

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The move to reject the New Zealand Kiwis means that he would be able to represent the NSW Blues in the future under the State of Origin eligibility rules.

If chosen, he would follow in the footsteps of fellow Tongan internationals Tyson Frizell, Keaon Koloamatangi and Daniel Tupou.

Explaining his decision to choose Tonga over New Zealand, Katoa revealed that Tonga's rise over the past few years helped steer him into choosing them.

"What got [Tonga] over the line was the 2019 tour of Great Britain, the game when they beat them and then a week later beat Australia," he said.

"I was still a young kid at that stage so to see some of those guys sacrifice the high honours of the Kiwis or the Kangaroos to come back and play for the nation and give back to their family and their people, I was inspired.

"Once I saw that, I was set. I thought, 'If I ever get the chance to represent Tonga I'll stick with them and go for that success again'."