The clock is ticking for the Tongan rugby league board. On Monday, Bulldogs and Tonga star Will Hopoate reinforced the notion that the national team will strike if the board does not reinstate the recently fired coach Kristian Woolf.
The team is currently pencilled in to play in the World Cup Nines competition in Parramatta in mid-October, followed by test matches against Great Britain and Australia.
“Everyone is united in their stance to want Kristian [Woolf] to stay as coach. We want the board to step down.
“That’s been our stance all along and is still what we want. The withdrawal from playing is real.”
The potential strike was threatened after the board made moves to fire Woolf and made other decisions that players view as detrimental to the growth of the game in Tonga.
The board claims that Woolf refused to offer up details of the team’s financial accounts, which led to his sacking.
In September, Andrew Fifita stated that he had spoken with at least 30 Tongan players and said that the “players will stand united and just wait, because it’s not just about what they’ve done. They’ve lost the trust. We need them to step aside now.
“I know they’re trying to reach out and we’ve all declined. That’s just us. We’re just too loyal. Woolfy never done a thing wrong.”