Folau v Rugby Australia Ltd
Folau v Rugby Australia Ltd

Folau presence would undeniably splinter proud nation

How wonderful that Tongan head coach Frank Endacott is overjoyed Israel Folau will return to rugby league with Tonga.

But will he be the coach?

Meanwhile, we're just waiting to confirm if Endacott also hopes the controversial Wallaby's return will include him stepping out from a red phone box like Superman.

Because as it stands, Folau will need to cover every position on the football field such is the anarchy that remains among the Mate Ma'a Tonga players, or should we say rugby league pioneers.

The boycott of all upcoming Tests over a dysfunctional Tongan board remains in place as far as the leadership group of Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita, Will Hopoate, Manu Ma'u and Sio Siua Taukeaiho is concerned.

It's anyone's guess why Endacott is so confident of being the coach when the brave men who turned their back on rich Origin and Kangaroos appearances fees to propel Tongan rugby league forward in unprecedented fashion only want their sacked coach Kristian Woolf and his staff back in charge.

Last month, The Sunday Telegraph revealed the full-blown anger towards the current board with the letter that was sent to every major pillar of the international game, ­including NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, RLIF CEO Nigel Wood and the RLPA.

Taumalolo is one of those big-name players still boycotting. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Taumalolo is one of those big-name players still boycotting. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

In clear black and white, the letter revealed the irreparable distrust between the Tongan playing group and their board of directors and includes claims that money set aside for the growth and development of Tongan rugby league has never been distributed.

They also clearly state their anger has nothing to do with their own pockets - having sacrificed $500,000 in match earnings last year.

The players wrote that the current TNRL board of directors led by chairman George Koloamatangi and secretary William Edwards were negligent in keeping their promise of open communication and transparency.

 

Tonga’s team is in a state of disarray. Photo: Mark Evans
Tonga’s team is in a state of disarray. Photo: Mark Evans

On Monday, the same players who have led a Tongan revolution found out of Folau's return by reporters and overseas news sites.

There's a chance Koloamatangi and Edwards could be axed within days - so time will tell if Folau still turns out for the island nation under a new board.

If he does return to league, Folau's presence would undeniably splinter a proud nation that has emerged as one of sport's great success stories in recent years.

Monday's announcement of his return is nothing more than a last-ditch power trip from an embarrassed board on borrowed time.

 

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