Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita has confirmed his allegiance to Tonga, declaring he plans to play for the pacific nation for the rest of his career.
Fifita told AAP on Friday he intends to make himself available for Tonga until he retires, which could see him pass up on thousands and thousands of dollars.
When Fifita made the switch to Tonga last season, he received just $500 per game, with the Kangaroos paying players up to $20,000 in match fees.
“I’m Tonga for life,” Fifita told AAP.
“There are rules where I can play Origin and that, I’ll put my hand up for Origin.
“But when the NRL’s put the schedule with Origin (on the same weekend as the Pacific Test), I just feel like the pinnacle for our game is representing your country and that’s what I’m doing.”
Fifita is set to take the field at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night alongside NRL stars Jason Taumalolo and Michael Jennings when the Mata Ma’a face Samoa, in a Test that’s expected to pack out the venue.
The 28-year-old is excited by the future of Tonga rugby, and can’t wait to take on Australia – if they’re given the chance to face the world’s best.
“If you look back at the World Cup, no one is talking about how Australia won,” Fifita said.
“No one is talking about how well they went, I think everyone is more asking ‘when is Tonga going to play Australia?’ For us, we want to play the world’s best.
“I think we proved ourselves against England and New Zealand, that we can match it with the best. We just want to be known as a solid team.”