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Belief soars in Tonga camp ahead of Roos showdown

Tonga captain Jason Taumalolo says beating Great Britain in convincing fashion last weekend has given his side plenty of reason to believe they can overcome the world champion Kangaroos this Saturday at Eden Park.

The Cowboys enforcer said the Pacific kingdom has found another level at training this week following the 14-6 win over the Lions at Waikato Stadium, and feel ready for whatever Australia will throw at them.

"If anything the boys have improved and everyone's got a bit of confidence under their belt after last week's game," Taumalolo said.

"The Kangaroos played a typical Australian style of footy against the Kiwis, grinding out teams and putting them to the sword.

Match Highlights: Tonga Invitational v Great Britain

"This week will be no different, but I am confident that the boys can hold their own coming up against the best team in rugby league.

"Australia have got strikepower all over the field, but I am confident we do too. 

"I'm sure my boys will go out and rise to the occasion on Saturday night."

Taumalolo is the only member of the Tongan team who has beaten Australia before, having tasted victory against the Kangaroos twice in seven attempts while playing for New Zealand.

The 26-year-old lock said while those wins stand out, so too do the handful of heavy defeats suffered at the hands of the Kangaroos. 

Tonga perform stirring Sipi Tau

"It's good to beat the best country in rugby league, but in saying that they always seem to find a way to get back on top," Taumalolo said.

"I have had my ups and downs against Australia and I'm still waiting for that [win] to happen in a red and white jersey.

"Fingers crossed that this weekend it happens."

Tonga were defeated 34-16 by Australia in the corresponding fixture in October last year.

Winger David Fusitu'a said the victory over Great Britain adds to the squad's belief that they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as traditional powerhouses Australia, New Zealand and England.

"I thought it was massive [to beat Great Britain]… we definitely think we belong there in the top tier of nations," Fusitu'a said.

"We have a lot of confidence in what we can do as a team and the players around us.

"[But] Australia is a different beast to what Great Britain was and they have been the top team for a long time."

Tonga produce truly epic try

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has named a squad off 22 for the Eden Park Test, with Tevita Pangai jnr (suspension), Joe Ofahengaue (suspension) and Kotoni Staggs (personal reasons) all a chance to play after missing last week's match.

Taumalolo said the depth of the squad left Woolf with some tough decisions to make, while he also confirmed that prop Andrew Fifita is expected to be fine to play against Australia despite sitting out Tuesday's field session.

"That's just Andrew taking a break… Andrew is fine, I think he just pulled up a bit sore from the weekend," Taumalolo said.

"I would hate to be a coach picking the team at the moment – guys like Kotoni, Joe, Tevita – they are all top-tier players for their club, we know what they can do.

"I think Woolfy has got a few hard decisions to make."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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