Andrew Fifita has called upon the same lawyer that helped clear Billy Slater in last year’s grand final as he looks to be play in Tonga’s upcoming clash with New Zealand.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, Fifita is expected to fly out on Sunday night to join the Tongan camp and then appeal his charge at the NRL judiciary via video link.
The Sharks veteran was charged for his tackle on Canberra’s Ryan Sutton and will risk copping a three-match ban should he unsuccessfully challenge the suspension.
With help from the highly esteemed Nick Ghabar, he will plead guilty to the charge and seek a downgrade from a grade two to a grade one.
Tongan coach Kristian Woolf was hopeful that Fifita would be available.
“We’d love to have him available, and it’s no secret what playing for Tonga means to him,” Woolf told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“You can never discredit the amount of sacrifice a lot of these guys have made to be a part of the Tongan team and Andrew has been at the forefront of that. If he was to miss next Saturday it would be disappointing for him and the team.
“If he can’t play, we’ll need to move on and we’ll have massive faith in the other guys there to find a little more out of themselves. And there are worse things than missing one game. He’ll certainly be playing with us at the end of the year in some big games [including Australia].”
Tonga and New Zealand will meet next Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium at 3.10pm.