The NZRL might not be interested in the Kiwis playing Tonga but the World Champion Kangaroos could face off against the Pacific Island side in Auckland.

Talks are continuing for Tonga to play Australia in an end of year test with Hawaii touted as a possible venue, but there's a chance the match could be held at Mt Smart Stadium.

Auckland is being considered as a venue for the potential clash that could see the likes of former Kiwis-turned-Tongan World Cup heroes Jason Taumalolo, David Fusitu'a, Manu Ma'u and Sio Siua Taukeiaho line up against Kangaroos stars Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis and Boyd Cordner, as organisers and sponsors weigh up where the event could be most successful.

Read more: One-off test in Denver makes no sense for Kiwis


"It's certainly still on the cards," Tonga coach Woolf told the Herald.

"It's no closer to being finalised, there's still a fair bit to go, but it's something that we want to happen and something Australia want to happen and there's a fair bit of interest from companies wanting to at least look into whether it's a viable option and where it will be a viable option.

"And one thing that hasn't been written off is bringing a game like that to New Zealand.

"So there are a number of different possibilities there in terms of where that could be played, Hawaii being just one of those.

"But it's certainly something that a lot of people want to make happen so I'd like to think it's a really good chance for that reason."

A test between Tonga and the Mal Meninga-coached Australian team in New Zealand would be a guaranteed sell-out given the large local Pacific community and the fact the second-tier side drew capacity crowds to three World Cup matches in Hamilton and Auckland.

Such a scenario would leave the NZRL red-faced given they have so far ignored the chance to arrange a re-match of the Kiwis World Cup pool defeat to Tonga.

Tonga are still holding out in hope that a mid-year test against New Zealand in Auckland could go ahead during the stand-alone representative weekend of June 22-24, if the proposed Denver test between New Zealand and England doesn't eventuate.

The Denver test is being presented as a chance to promote rugby league ahead of the 2025 World Cup, which will be held in the US.

Promoters Moore Sports are behind the initiative and the idea has the backing of the cash-strapped NZRL and the support of England.

Tonga is currently scheduled to play Samoa in a Pacific test in Sydney on June 23, but Woolf says the NRL are open to his side withdrawing from the Campbelltown Stadium fixture if New Zealand agrees to host them.

Tonga are still hopeful of arranging a mid-year test against the Kiwis in a re-match of their World Cup pool victory in Hamilton. Photo / Photosport.
Tonga are still hopeful of arranging a mid-year test against the Kiwis in a re-match of their World Cup pool victory in Hamilton. Photo / Photosport.

"There is scope for New Zealand to play Tonga on that weekend and in terms of other games as part of a Pacific test, the NRL have made that clear that we could certainly look at manoeuvring around that," said Woolf.

"NZRL were certainly involved in discussions around that before Christmas, so there is the possibility if everyone agreed that that game could still eventuate.

"That all depends on what happens with the England-New Zealand game, but one thing we can't do is hold off on everything else while we wait for one country to decide what they want to be a part of.

"As I've said all along, the big game for me and the one we'd love to be a part of is Tonga-New Zealand in New Zealand.

"But we can't cut off other opportunities to sit and wait for that to come along either, so it's all something that needs to be moved on really quickly.

"If we're going to play Samoa we want that to be a big event and that to be a success.

"We need to be able to put on a professional camp for our players as well and that means we need to get planning ASAP."

The NZRL would not comment on the likelihood of the Denver test going ahead but denied they were aware that the NRL were willing to allow Tonga to pull out of the Pacific test against Samoa.

The Denver test was reportedly close to being finalised earlier this month but the Warriors are among several NRL clubs with concerns about their players embarking on the 23,604km round trip to play at America's highest altitude city.

An announcement on the Denver test is expected in the coming days.

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