Kiwis v Tonga: Veteran Andrew Fifita facing suspension from Mt Smart showdown

Andrew Fifita leads the Tongan pre-match ritual
Andrew Fifita leads the Tongan pre-match ritual. Photo credit: Photosport

Tonga have suffered a major blow for their test with New Zealand, with Andrew Fifita set to miss the massive showdown due to suspension.

On Friday, the NRL match review committee charged the Cronulla prop with a crusher tackle on Canberra's Ryan Sutton and Fifita is set to miss 2-3 three weeks.

His only chance of taking part in the clash is to take his case to the judiciary next week.

He was hit with a grade-two dangerous contact - head/neck charge and will miss two weeks, if he accepts the early guilty plea.

But he risks missing three weeks, if he takes his case to the judiciary and loses.

Fifita fell on the Raiders back-rower's head, as he lay on the ground during a tackle, bending his neck forward.

Fifita was one of 22 players named in Kristian Woolf's Mate Ma'a squad on Thursday, but now looks set to be sidelined for the clash.

Tonga will still boast a formidable forward pack, featuring the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Tevita Pangai Jnr and Addin Fonua-Blake.

Former Kangaroo international Fifita and former Kiwi Taumalolo were instrumental in Tonga's elevation among rugby league's elite, when they elected to represent the Pacific island nation at the 2017 World Cup.

The led the Tongas to victory over the Kiwis in pool play - the last time the two sides met - and eventually lost a contentious 20-18 semi-final to England.

In the final moments, Fifita dived over for a winning try, which was disallowed for a knock-on.


Join us on June 22 for live updates of the NZ Kiwis v Tonga rugby league test