Stuff.co.nz - League
The streets of south Auckland are awash with Tongan pride ahead of tonight's highly anticipated league match against Australia.
Mt Smart Stadium is bursting with Tongan pride as the sell-out crowd builds for the Pacific Island nation's maiden rugby league test against Australia.
Auckland is going to be a busy place when Mate Ma Tonga take on the Kangaroos, but perhaps nobody will have more on their plate than Melissa Kami.
Jason Taumalolo's defection from the Kiwis to Tonga last year has gone from being widely criticised at the time to being seen as the turning point for international rugby league.
Tonga coach Kristian Woolf is adamant his players will not be overawed by the occasion when they finally get the chance to test themselves against Australia.
John Hopoate will return to the football field just months after receiving a 10-year ban from rugby league.
Gold Coast executive chairman Dennis Watt expects Konrad Hurrell to assume cult hero status after allowing the centre to join English Super League outfit Leeds on a three-year marquee deal.
Tonga's supporters have already backed up their incredible showing from last year's World Cup and now the team is ready to do the same.
Felise Kaufusi says he has to be "careful" when explaining why he has not followed Andrew Fifita and Jason Tuamalolo back to Tonga in the prime of his rugby league career.
England showed some ominous signs ahead of their three-test series against the Kiwis, thrashing France 44-6.
St George Illawarra have emerged as a shock contender for the services of Jarryd Hayne if the cross-code star can't strike a deal with Parramatta.
Referees are prepared to go on strike in round one next season if the NRL does not agree to a pay claim that would see the top whistleblowers earning as much as $A315,000 a year ($NZ340,000).
If Australia wanted a preview of the reception that awaits them on Saturday, it was on full display at Mt Smart Stadium on Wednesday.
Benji Marshall hopes Ivan Cleary will remain 'on the bus' - but if not, the Wests Tigers star is ready to board the 'Wayne Train'.
Dual international Josh McGuire hopes Samoa can one day achieve what Tonga have, but admits it will come down to the players.
Australian coach Mel Meninga pulled no punches when he fronted the media after his side's loss to New Zealand on Saturday, and the players heard him loud and clear.