New Zealand league fans, get ready for the clash of the titans.

The Kiwis will play Tonga in June next year, with the fixture confirmed today by the New Zealand Rugby League.

The game – which has been described as New Zealand's version of State of Origin – will be staged on Saturday June 22nd, though the venue has yet to be confirmed.

Auckland will be the most likely city for the game, given the large Polynesian population, but the NZRL say they will run a competitive bidding process.


It's likely to attract bids from several regions, as the interest in the Kangaroos clash with Tonga on Saturday has been massive.

The match has been sold out for days, and Tongan fans have flooded in from across the globe.

Some have come from as far as California and Utah, others from across Australia while the flights between Nuku'alofa and Auckland have been virtually fully booked since last Saturday.

There have been calls for a re-match between the Kiwis and Tonga ever since the classic World Cup contest in Hamilton last year, won 28-22 by Tonga, which had extra drama around it after several Kiwis-eligible players, notably Jason Taumalolo, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and David Fusitu'a, made late switches back to represent their country of heritage.

The NZRL surprisingly chose to go to Denver last June, despite the fact that Tonga were a logical option and the Pacific team were desperate to arrange the clash, but it is now finalized.

"It all starts next year, 22nd of June," confirmed NZRL CEO Greg Peters. "We are about to start a process to seek proposals from venues around the country that may be interested in hosting the game. It's all about how we can create a great commercial outcome and put on a great game with a full house."

There's heavy expectation around Mate Ma'a Tonga on Saturday, but the Kangaroos will still be favourites, despite their surprise 26-24 loss to the Kiwis last week.

"We've been exposed to it [expectation] a lot over the last 12 months," said Tonga coach Kristian Woolf. "My advice to these players is enjoy what we've got here. This is our first time to play Australia. The [crowd] is somewhere between 26,000 and 30,000 [and] I don't think too many are going to be Aussies. It's going to be a terrific occasion and we just need to get out and enjoy it. If we're enjoying it we'll play our best footy."


Tonga's lack of match fitness will be a challenge on Saturday— a lot of their players haven't played for more than a month — while the Kangaroos squad have had two games (Papua New Guinea and the Kiwis) and many of Mal Meninga's squad went deep in the NRL finals.

The young Tongan halves combination of Tui Lolohea and Ata Hingano will also be targeted by Australia, but their formidable pack, allied with the power and size on their bench, mean that a Tongan victory is far from out of the question.