Following a full review of governance which was supported by the Tonga government, the Tonga National Rugby League has a new board in place. The board will be led by Mr George Koloamatangi as chair and includes members with a wide range of skills and experience drawn from across the kingdom.
Speaking about the reforms, Mr Koloamatangi commented upon why they were required
“The growth of our game, the international recognition and standing of our national side has had a profound effect on rugby league in Tonga. Reform is merely a consequence of the performance of our national team.
“The interest in the game of rugby league has grown significantly primarily due to the performance of our national team and we need to capitalise on the interest, which is at an all-time high, in order to capture and maintain a major sporting position in Tonga.”
The 2019 international programme provides some great opportunities for Tonga to build upon their magnificent performances at RLWC2017 and in 2018 and for the world to once again enjoy the passion of the Tongan fans. As well as their domestic season which will start in July, the domestic players will have the opportunity to tour Fiji in May and participate in the Pacific Games where the tournament will be the 9’s version of the game.
The highlight of the year will be the participation in the highest group of the inaugural RLIF Oceania Cup This kicks off with a blockbuster when Tonga will face New Zealand in Auckland on June 22nd and will conclude in a magnificent triple header at Eden Park when they could lift their first international trophy in a much-anticipated return game against Australia. In addition, they will face the Great Britain Rugby League Lions in an historic game to be played in Hamilton, New Zealand on October 26th.
Mr Koloamatangi has a very clear vision of what can be achieved by rugby league in Tonga. He summed his thoughts up by saying:
“It is very important to build upon the success of the national team. With a small nation like ours, success by our sporting teams boosts morale and gives hope to everyone in all aspects of life.
It is our ambition to continue to grow, to be the number one sport in our country, to lead the way and set an example in good governance to show that we in the smaller nations can govern as well as any of the major nations.”
The board of Tonga National Rugby League comprises: