Tonga V Samoa - Preview

The 2005 International Rugby League season will kick off this evening with a clash between Pacific Island neighbours Tonga and Samoa at Campbelltown Stadium.

A host of NRL stars with over 100 first grade games between them will be on show, as each nation begins to lay the platform for the Rugby League World Cup in 2008.

Wests Tigers assistant coach Royce Simmons will partner former Bulldogs and Parramatta International, Jim Dymock in coaching the Tongan team while Samoa will be led by former Australian coach Chris Anderson.

Fresh from his premiership with the Tigers, Simmons said fans can expect the Tongans to play a similarly exciting style of footy.

"I'd like to bring an enjoyment factor to the team, the Tigers play bright, attacking football and that's how the Tongans like to play as well - there'll be plenty of ball movement," Simmons said.

"There are a lot of talented young blokes playing in the lower grades and this is our first get together in the process of building for the World Cup in 2008."

The Match will feature a number of NRL players including exciting Canberra speedster Jermaine Ale (Tonga) and explosive Roosters forward Richard Fa'aso (Samoa).

"The Pacific Islands are home to a number of NRL players and has been for the past 10 - 15 years," ARL CEO Geoff Carr said.

"It is every athletes dream to represent their country and I'm sure those playing in the International will do so with the utmost pride."

As well as showcasing the Rugby League talents of each nation, the match will celebrate the culture of both Samoa and Tonga, with an emphasis on harmony.

A traditional Pacific Island dance featuring 80 performers and the presence of a number of elders from both the Tongan and Samoan communities will ensure it is a unique and colorful event.

"The Department of Community Services has recognized the growing Polynesian population, particularly in Western Sydney and sees the program as an important part of developing Community relations which they actively support."

"Tonight's match will be an alcohol free family night and it will be a chance for some very talented footballers to show their skills".

Tickets for the Match are $10 and can be purchased at the Gate. Gates will open at 5pm with the Tonga v Samoa Match to kick off at 7:30pm.

The squads are:

Tonga: Joel Taufaao (South Sydney), John Sinisa (Newtown Lets), Lopini Paea (Sydney Roosters), David Pangai (Wests Tigers), Makasini Richter (Bulldogs), Lalea Paea (Sydney Roosters), Feleti Mateo (London Broncos), Manase Manoukafoa (South Sydney), Richard Fa'aso (Sydney Roosters), Willie Manu (Dragons), Tyron Smith (London Broncos), Sosai Makisi (Bulldogs), Tevita Metuisula (Melbourne), Joe Falemaka (South Sydney), Siikeaha Teaupo (Western Suburbs). Junior Ahio (Penrith) Valu Nasio (Parramatta) Shenelle Haumono Penrith), Stanley Tuionuku (Bulldgos); Coaches: Royce Simmons, Jim Dymock.

Samoa: Chan Ly (Windsor), Jermaine Ale (Canberra), Chris Tuatara (North Sydney), Filinga Filiga (Bulldogs), McKonkie Tauasa (Sydney Roosters), PeeWee Moke (Sydney Roosters), Lyndan Matua (South Sydney), Steve Meredith (Sydney Roosters), Mathew Penese (Penrith), Charles Leaeno (St George Illawarra), Clifford Manua (Sharks), Mark Meredith (Balmain), Gray Vinane (Widnes), Richard Young (South Sydney), Lester Salanoa (Nth Sydney); (three players to be added today) Coach: Chris Anderson, Manager Nigel Vagana.

Campbelltown Stadium Match Times for Friday Oct 7: 5:15pm: Under 16/Pacific Islands v Aboriginal Development Squad 7:30pm: Tonga v Samoa

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