Australia will go head-to-head against Tonga in a historic Test match at Mt Smart Stadium today with many rugby league fans excited to see how the emerging Test nation fares against the established might of the Kangaroos.
However, there is one Mate Ma’a Tonga player in particular whose form has some Queensland fans eager to see him in Maroon colours in the future.
The Kangaroos side includes six current Maroons in Josh McGuire, Felise Kaufusi, Daly Cherry-Evans, Dane Gagai, Ben Hunt and Valentine Holmes – and this heavyweight clash could go some to seeing if young Brisbane Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue might join them as a wearer of a Queensland jersey in the seasons ahead.
The Ipswich junior enjoyed an outstanding season for the Brisbane Broncos in 2018, and earlier in the year was a player considered by selectors to be worthy of a Queensland Maroons call up.
He has been earmarked as a player to watch for a few years; having previously been selected in Queensland Emerging squads (main image).
The 23-year-old boasted some impressive numbers in 2018, averaging 117 running metres, and 10.8 hit ups per game, along with 37 tackle breaks and 1056 post contact metres to put to his name.
The 113kg front-row forward Ofahengaue will have his work cut out for him today however as he lines up against NSW Origin forwards David Klemmer and Jake Trbojevic and Broncos team-mate and Maroon Josh McGuire.
If he can put in another big performance for Tonga against the Rugby League World Cup winning Kangaroos; he will go along to keeping his name in the discussion for a Queensland Maroons call up in 2019 having experienced Camp Maroon first hand before Game I this year.
*This article reflects the opinion of the authors only and is not the official position of the QRL.