Jason Taumalolo will line up for Tonga. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Jason Taumalolo will line up for Tonga. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Taumalolo snubs New Zealand again

NORTH Queensland lock Jason Taumalolo has again snubbed New Zealand after confirming his allegiance to Tonga ahead of their Pacific Test in Sydney.

Taumalolo turned his back on the chance to run out with the Kiwis in their June 23 clash with England in the United States, opting instead to make himself available for Tonga's one-off clash with Samoa in Campbelltown on the same day.

"Myself along with a number of other players, have recommitted to Tonga again because we are passionate about our heritage and we also want to help make international rugby league stronger and the best way for us to do that is by making Tonga a competitive team internationally," Taumalolo said.

Taumalolo's call comes just 24 hours after Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue indicated he will play for Queensland over Tonga if he is forced into a selection dilemma next week.

Ofahengaue, who lined up alongside Taumalolo for Tonga at last year's World Cup, has been one of the standouts for Brisbane this year and his form has not gone unnoticed by Queensland selectors.

Gene Miles was the first to bring Ofahengaue's name into the selection conversation ahead of Origin I and fellow Maroons selector Darren Lockyer agreedt he is a contender for a game two debut.

While he is adamant he is not turning his back on the Mate Ma'a, Ofahengaue said he would not pass up the opportunity to play for Queensland if both teams came knocking.

"It's a no-brainer," he said of his possible selection dilemma.

"Everyone knows Queensland and Origin is the top of our sport and it's the game everyone wants to play.

"If I was get to picked (for Queensland) over Tonga, I would pick Origin but I am still loyal to Tonga.

"I'm still available for Tonga and I want to keep it that way. This is the reason why they changed the rules for us second tier nations. It would be stupid to not make myself available."