A sea of red will meet an army of black in Auckland tonight as eager rugby league fans gather at Mt Smart Stadium for the much-anticipated Mate Ma'a Tonga Oceania Cup tournament test against the Kiwis.

Lively and passionate Tongan fans have already decked out their homes and cars in bright red, but police have also warned those heading to tonight's game at the stadium in Penrose that the only clashes should be on the field.

After violent incidents and numerous arrests during street brawls after matches in the past two years, police have been working closely with community organisations before tonight's game.

The men and women in blue are prepared — how about you?

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Go, or not?

Go — it's not too late to get a ticket. Some areas of the stadium have sold out, but there are still tickets ranging from $13 to $79 available. Ticketek is the official ticket provider for the match.

Mate Ma'a Tonga supporters, from left, Danny Ma'u, Mele Finau Ma'u and Queen Mele Taloa Kyile Ma'u outside their home on Mt Smart Rd, which Danny has spent weeks decorating. Photo / Alex Burton
Mate Ma'a Tonga supporters, from left, Danny Ma'u, Mele Finau Ma'u and Queen Mele Taloa Kyile Ma'u outside their home on Mt Smart Rd, which Danny has spent weeks decorating. Photo / Alex Burton

Arrive early, or late?

Early.

Stadium gates open at 2pm, before the 3.10pm clash between the Kiwi Ferns and Fetu Samoa. It's the first time in 11 years the two women's sides have done battle.

The Kiwis and Mate Ma'a Tonga match follows later in the afternoon, half an hour after the sun has gone down on this, the shortest day of the year. Kickoff is at 5.40pm.

Drive, or not?

If you can help it, not.

Auckland traffic never needs more vehicles on the road, and getting a park always adds unnecessary stress.

If you must, there's parking in the streets around Mt Smart, and some entrepreneurial residents will give you their car parks — for a fee.

Police have also advised motorists to, if possible, avoid the Ōtāhuhu area, immediately south of Penrose and the scene of violent incidents and disorder after previous matches.

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Mate Ma'a Tongan fans wear their colours with pride. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Mate Ma'a Tongan fans wear their colours with pride. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Auckland Transport is encouraging game-goers to use public transport. Travel on trains and Northern Express (NX1) services is included in pre-purchased game tickets.

Regular scheduled bus services operate via Great South Rd past the Penrose train station. The 66 frequent cross-town service, 670 and 743 bus services travel via Mt Smart Stadium, although normal fares/passes apply for bus travel that is not on the NX1.

Free travel for those with match tickets starts from 2pm and continues until services end tonight.

There will be additional Southern Line trains from Penrose to Britomart after the match.

Buses will replace trains both ways between Onehunga and Ellersie post-match.

Western and Eastern Line trains on these lines will follow their usual Saturday timetable.

Ferries will also run as normal, and normal fares also apply for those travelling by water today.

Full details on public transport here.

Pack a brolly, or not?

Not.

It'll be dry and cool for today's match, MetService meteorologist Andy Best says.

The afternoon high of 14C will dip to 12C by 6pm, dropping another degree by 8pm. And the south-westerly wind will be so light it will barely be noticeable, Best says.

Eat? Drink?

You'll neither starve nor succumb to thirst.

Free water stations are scattered through the venue. Those aged under 25 are encouraged to bring ID — passport, New Zealand driver's licence or HANZ 18+ card — if they want to buy alcohol.

Eftpos is available at most food and beverage outlets inside the stadium.

According to the Auckland Stadiums website, small amounts of non-commercially prepared food — such as sandwiches, fruit or baking — can be brought into the stadium. A sealed plastic bottle of water (up to 1L) is also allowed.

Mate Ma'a Tonga perform the Sipi Tau before their match against England at Mt Smart during the Rugby League World Cup in 2017. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Mate Ma'a Tonga perform the Sipi Tau before their match against England at Mt Smart during the Rugby League World Cup in 2017. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Bring it, or not?

Yes to small bags, cell phones and guide dogs.

Not to quite a lot:

• Commercially prepared foods such as takeaways and soft drinks
• Chilly bins
• Cans, aluminium or glass containers, bottles or cutlery
• Alcohol or illicit drugs
• Air horns or loud hailers
• Furniture, chairs or stools
• Prams or strollers
• Rain or shade umbrellas
• Animals (except guide dogs)
• Dangerous goods
• Video cameras and recording devices such as Go Pros (cell phones are okay)
• Selfie sticks
• Face masks
• Cameras with a removable lens, a lens larger than a regular watch face or cameras which may be deemed to be for professional use
• Items too large to go under the seat
• Skateboards, rollerblades or scooters
• Fireworks, flares or laser lights

Behave, or not?

Behave, please, police say.

Police had been working with a number of community organisations ahead of the game, Inspector Matt Srhoj told the Herald.

"We know this is an exciting time for league supporters and we encourage people to enjoy the night. We also ask that while people are having a good time that they are also respectful and mindful of others."

Kiwis star Shaun Johnson during the captain's run at Mt Smart Stadium yesterday. Photo / Phil Walter / Getty
Kiwis star Shaun Johnson during the captain's run at Mt Smart Stadium yesterday. Photo / Phil Walter / Getty

Cheer, or boo?

Cheer! No matter your allegiance, no one likes a bad sport.

Celebrate the fleet of foot and commiserate the moments of glory snatched away at the last in what is Mt Smart's sole league international this year.

To whet your appetite before the game, Herald reporter Christopher Reive has looked at these three key match ups worth watching.