The best players from the recently completed Monimonu Cup tournament hosted by Queensland Tonga Rugby Union has finally been unveiled and the team acts as a who’s who list of the brightest rugby talents currently coming through the ranks and plying their trades from the Melbourne, New South Wales and Queensland Tongan communities.
The players named give an indication as to how their respective teams fared in the tournament. Queensland Tonga were rewarded for their undisputed dominance in the forwards with a large portion of the Australian Tongan Monimonu pack coming from the Sunshine State. The Queensland contingent up front is led by the fearsome front row combination of Australian NRC representatives Phillip Ma’u Kite, Maile Ngauamo and Dave Feao.
New South Wales particular prominence out wide was led by the unstoppable efforts of NSW Tonga and NRC representative Brian Sefanaia, who led the charge for the boys in sky blue during the tournament and resulted in a good portion of back line spots going to the NSW Tongans.
The balanced tenacity of the Melbourne Tongan team in their impressive inaugural Monimonu Cup hit out, saw a good spread of both backs and forwards named in the team. The Monimonu Melbourians will be led by the impressive trio of Mosese Haukinima, Martin Naufahu and Aisea Halo in the Australian Tongan squad.
New South Wales Tonga and former Tonga A International Alfred Pinomi has been named as captain of the squad, while former Ikale Tahi capped player Samiuela Satui has been named as his deputy.
Aside from the sprinkling of experienced, tried and trusted players throughout the squad, the team also sees some bright and and upcoming names like promising play-making prospect Robbie Takataka (who was named tournament MVP) and exciting speedster Aleki Falepaini also named in the squad.
With over 65% percent of the squad containing first class rugby experience in either the NRC or the Tongan International system, the strength of the squad is undeniable proof that the vision handed down by Monimonu Cup Patron HRH Prince Ata and tournament ambassadors Viliami Ofahengaue and Toutai Kefu is coming to fruition, where the Monimonu Cup acts as a premier platform for the best and brightest Tongan players in Australia to prove their wares in the highest quality competition to display their talents.
With New Zealand Tonga (Siutaka) not able to finalise arrangements to play the Australian Tongan Monimonu teams, a schedule of first class fixtures against high quality opposition is now in the process of being finalised and will be announced in due time. The landmark fixtures will allow the Australian Tongan Monimonu teams to be able to test themselves against some top notch representative teams across Australia that no other local Tongan team has had the privilege of playing before.
The top 23 performers from the Monimonu Cup will get the first opportunity to represent the Australian Tongan Monimonu team and then from there, depending on availability, performance and club form in their respective States, players still have the opportunity to be invited along to participate in later games as a reward for high performance.
The open door strategy means, it gives players not named in the initial squad as well as players from brother union A.C.T Tonga a very real and very strong incentive to continue playing well in their respective States to earn that much anticipated call up.
A statement from the Monimonu committee outlined just how pleased the Monimonu committee was, at the final make up of the team and that the great spread of talent across all the three States is testament to the talent that is here in Australia playing under the Monimonu Cup banner.
“Apart from the obvious class line up that was named, the sign of the strength of the squad also lies in the calibre of guys who missed out, like Christian Filipine, George Lolo, and Torreto Tautua’a as just some of the names who performed strongly during the tournament but were unlucky to not make the cut.”
“It bodes well for the future and will hopefully make players try even harder to secure these jerseys moving forward.”
Congratulations to the following players who have been named in the 2014/2015 Monimonu squad:
1. Dave Feao (QLD)
2. Maile Ngauamo (QLD)
3. Phillip Mau Kite (QLD)
4. Alfred Pinomi (NSW)
5. Rob Puliuvea (QLD)
6. Chazz Mahina (QLD)
7. Sam Latunipulu (NSW)
8. Mosese Haukinima (Melbourne)
9. Aisea Halo (Melbourne)
10. Robbie Takataka (NSW)
11. Aleki Falepaini (Melbourne)
12. Martin Naufahu (Melbourne)
13. Brian Sefanaia (NSW)
14. Tui Fa’asisila (NSW)
15. Samiuela Satui (QLD)
16. Tonga Ma’afu (QLD)
17. Soane Naufahu (Melbourne)
18. Viliami Pasi (NSW)
Specialist Hooker cover
19. Ryan Aniseko (NSW)
Specialist Lock cover
20. Simana Halaifonua (QLD)
Specialist Loose cover.
21. Michael Tahitua (Melbourne)
22. Finau Makamaka (NSW)
Inside/outside back cover
23. Tukia Muli (NSW)
Utility Inside/Outside back cover