3 days ago
Royce Simmons and Bryan Hider have continued their golden run when they took Tonga to a bruising International Rugby League win over Samoa.
Still recovering from the joint venture sides premiership celebrations, assistant coach Simmons and head trainer Hider watched as the Tongan's raced to a 26-0 half time lead at Campbelltown Stadium before taking the game 34-20.
"There's actually a bit of Tiger in them," a proud Simmons said after the international, organised by the Australian Rugby League to help the countries prepare for the 2008 World Cup.
"Like the Tigers, they really get stuck in on the training paddock and when they come off the field they like to play a bit of music.
"In some ways its been hard to miss some of the grand final celebrations but I made a commitment and its been an honour to be involved."
While the winner's line up featured NRL stars like Willie Manu, Richard Fa'aoso and Manase Manoukafoa, the key men were a pair of London Broncos.
Centre Tyrone Smith, brother of Wallaby George, scored a brace of tries while halfback Feleti Mateo had the ball on a string for most of the night. Between them they scored 16 of their sides points.
Mateo, who rejoins Parramatta next season after a stint on loan in London, said the fact the Samoan's turned their back on the Tongan war dance before kick off had fired his side up.
"I think the idea is to be the last team to finish and that was us," Mateo said.
"When they did that, it just took things to another level."
The Samoan side, hit by the late withdrawals of Manly pair Steve Matai and Kylie Leuluai, fought back strongly after half time.
Despite the loss, their celebrated coach Chris Anderson said he wanted to stay on until the World Cup.
"Yeah, I've got to have a talk about it but I'm keen," said Anderson, coach of Australia when they lifted the World Cup trophy in 2000.
"There's a lot of good kids available who will be even better by 2008."
The closest the Samoan's got in the second half was 26-10 - a margin that remained for 18 minutes as their vocal supporters cheered them towards what would have been a remarkable come back.
Those hopes were shattered, however, when former Sydney Rooster's lower grader Smith dived over with 12 minutes left after a period of sustained Tongan pressure.