Rugby League: Jason Taumalolo ponders Mate Ma'a Tonga future over board dispute

Jason Taumalolo has played 10 tests for Tonga.
Jason Taumalolo has played 10 tests for Tonga. Photo credit: Getty

Barnstorming forward Jason Taumalolo has ruled out a potential return to the Kiwis, saying he'd rather retire from international rugby league, if the dispute between Tongan players and their board isn't resolved. 

Taumalolo is among a host of Tongan players who plan to boycott the upcoming World Cup Nines, and tests against Great Britain and Australia, unless changes are made with Tongan National Rugby League (TNRL).

The players are demanding TNRL chairman George Koloamatangi and secretary William Edwards step aside, and Kristian Woolf is reinstated as national team coach, despite the recent appointment of Frank Endacott. 

Taumalolo famously pulled out of camp Kiwis before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup to wear the red and white and while he's eligible to switch back again, the lock-forward says it's Tonga or nothing. 

"I'm sticking solid with Tonga and if that doesn't work, I guess I might have to retire [from] international football," Taumalolo told NRL.com.

"Hopefully, it doesn't come to that. I'd still love to play for Tonga and play alongside some of the great players that have represented in the last few years.

"But if that doesn't work out and we can't come to an agreement, I'll eventually retire from international football."

Despite making such a bold statement, the North Queensland Cowboys enforcer hopes things don't escalate that far. 

"We haven’t come to a solution yet, so that’ll be my next thing that I've got to deal with, but I'm still training and doing my best to stay fit, in case things have changed.

"I'll do my part in trying to get this all sorted, as much as I can control. Hopefully, it's all sorted before the nines and the tests at the end of the year."

Earlier in the week, Andrew Fifita told AAP that "at least 30 players" were willing to boycott the upcoming test window, unless a new board was elected.

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